It’s been 30 days since Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Northern East Coast, killing over 125 people and causing billions of dollars of damage.
But for many people, having to pick up the pieces of their lives that Sandy crushed, destroyed and shattered is even more dreadful than the fierce 820-mile winds that we endured on that late October night.
After a month, the devastation that Sandy left is extensive. Thousands of people are still homeless, while hundreds of homes remain powerless.
So far, the superstorm caused about $62 billion of damage, mainly in New York and New Jersey, making it the second most expensive storm in America after Hurricane Katrina, which caused $128 billion (after inflation.)
On Wednesday, NJ Governor Chris Christie announced that Sandy damaged or destroyed over 72,000 homes and businesses in his state alone. He assessed the damage to cost around $37 billion and labeled the superstorm “New Jersey’s Katrina.”
“I’ve called this experience New Jersey’s Katrina because the damage to our state is nothing that we’ve experienced ever before. Our top-down assessment of overall damage, destruction, and costs bears out the results of this devastation, with a cumulative total of $36.9 billion in damage,” said Governor Christie. “We have a long way to go to rebuild and restore our communities, but the people of New Jersey have already shown that we are ready to meet the challenge. This assessment will help guide the way as we work to continue making steady progress for the people of our state.”
Both he and NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg are seeking billions in federal aid to help pay for the damage. Bloomberg is seeking $42 billion, while Christie is after almost $37 billion. To prepare for the future storms that science predicts will also hit New York and New Jersey due to the rising sea levels, both Bloomberg and Christie are allotting portions of federal funds to go toward future projects.
In addition, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking to take measures to prevent massive damage from future storms by moving electrical transformers in commercial buildings to upper floors. He also wants the ability to shutter key tunnels, airports and subways and to require hospitals to move generators to high level floors.
Hurricane Sandy ruined homes and shook livelihoods for thousands of people. But the one thing that it failed to do was break the spirit of the people that it affected. Because of Sandy, we're stronger, smarter and will be better prepared in the future. We still have a lot of work to do to restore NY and NJ, but our resilience and unity in times of crisis proves that we will get through this, just like we've made it through the many storms in our past.