New Jersey Student Stories - Hurricane Sandy

Boardwalk Dragged Out to Sea Where in the World? by Students Disasters Where in the World? by Students

"Boardwalk Dragged Out to Sea", Seaside Heights boardwalk plunges off the deep end, NJ.com, Public Domain.

"Life has become one big problem."-Joe Paladino
"Absolutely unbearable."
"Finally my life can get back on track."- Bobbie Marino 
"My small family business has suffered without customers and power."
"The damages are just piling up, one after another."
"I fear for the well being of my family with staying in my own home.  My house is supposed to make me feel safe."
"I used to own a shop at the end of my street.  Due to all the damages, I had to choose between my store or the place my kids grew up.  I made my choice but it looks like I'll be losing both soon. That store was supposed to go to my son when he got older."- John Ronnholm
"I don't think we can take much more of this."
"We will never forget Super Storm Sandy in my house, but we won't fear it anymore.  Sandy was a teacher, tribulation was the lesson, we bared through the long painstaking course, put through our final exam and are in the clear."
"Thank God it's over and at least now we can be prepared for whatever is to come."
"We can do this."- Jon Louie

The above quotes were collected from Facebook posts during Hurricane Sandy.

For New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy was a natural disaster of epic proportions. When the superstorm lashed the Jersey Shore on October 29, 2012, 34 people lost their lives. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, leaving people homeless. Mom and pop stores were shuttered, and many people lost their jobs. 

Warnings about the hurricane drove most New Jersey residents into a panic, which turned out to be more than justified. With her massive waves and towering height, the destroyer named Sandy "cost New Jersey more than $37.1 billion statewide, including $13.6 billion in direct physical and economic damage," according to a Rutgers University report.  This amount includes $23.5 billion in remediation costs.  Sandy even dragged an entire roller coaster--five tons of metal--out to sea. Sandy destroyed parts of the Jersey Shore and swallowed much of Seaside Heights whole. Until the hurricane, Seaside Heights was an iconic summer getaway, filled with beaches, bungalows, and a popular boardwalk of food, arcades, and amusement games and rides.  

Though the devastation was evident for miles, many New Jerseyans tried to avoid thinking about were the people, animals, and debris floating through the empty neighborhoods and sodden streets.  The once vibrant and thriving communities underwent a ghostly transformation. In fact, it is very difficult to contemplate the deaths caused by the storm--cold-fleshed and gray-faced, their lungs flooded with the harsh salt of the sea, their bodies motionless.

Hospitals were flooded with patients and to elude major medical supplies from draining and to  "minimize expected supply disruptions, their pharmacies placed larger-than-normal orders for medications and supplies before Sandy hit and then worked closely with wholesalers to get those shipments in."- 

"We had to anticipate that our house was going to be packed, [that] we were going to have more patients than we typically see," said Indu Lew,vice president of corporate pharmacy education and research for West Orange-based Barnabas Health. He was quoted on a website for American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

At 775-bed Hackensack University Medical Center, room was made for patients who were temporarily transferred from Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen after that hospital's generator fail.

As the waters receded, many homeowners were faced with a foe that would haunt them for months and years--property damage. They filed insurance claims and sought help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The beaches were littered with parts of homes.  The shore was buried and encased in a tomb of sand, feet under the very waves that wedge them there in the first place. With thousands  of dollars in damages, hundreds of people without homes and many others hit hard by the storm, Super Storm Sandy earned a reputation as one of our most destructive natural disasters to ever hit the most densely populated state in the nation. 

 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6220a1.htm How did these people die? Was it drowning? Info from report." Directly related deaths are deaths caused by the environmental force of the disaster (e.g., wind or flood) or by the direct consequences of these forces (e.g., structural collapse). Indirectly related deaths are defined as deaths occurring in a situation in which the disaster led to unsafe conditions (e.g., hazardous roads) or caused a loss or disruption of usual services that contributed to the death (e.g., loss of electrical services) (2). Deaths without direct or indirect classification were reported as unknown or possibly related deaths," according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Though we don't want to, we can think about the children, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, neighbors, close friends and loved ones of the 34 people whose lives got swept away by the storm.  The same people who had to be sat down by the police to be notified of a person who would never return home; the same people who had to drive down to a dark, depressing morgue to identify the body of the one they loved.  Those are the people we should be praying for at night and thinking of during the day, as we count our blessings and try to help them remember theirs, reminding them they are not going through this alone.  They shouldn't be the only reason Sandy stirs so many emotions; we all need to be part of getting things back to normal.  Volunteers have been cleaning up the beach and freeing its sand of the polluting fragments of the boardwalk.  Restore the Shore is a campaign to to help undoing the damages of Hurricane Sandy ever since it was safe to be near the water.  With the help of 1,000's of volunteers and sympathetic New Jersey residents, the Jersey shore has begun to look stable again.  Sandy will forever be in our memories, the people who lost more than anything will forever be in our hearts, and the boardwalk will forever be a changed place. . .   but not forever will it be lost.

Much like bare feet leave imprints on smooth, compacted sand, Sandy left marks on the people of New Jersey.  Fortunately, no matter where you're standing, a wave will wash over any scars left behind and smooth things over.  Of course, like sand will feel grainy on our feet, Sandy was increasingly rough on our hearts.  But we've dealt with it once, and though we may not want to the face it again, we know we can because the people of New Jersey are strong, we are resilient and we are proud.

The World Meteorological Organization has retired the name "Sandy" from the official list of Atlantic hurricane names.  The criteria to remove a name from the list, which is reused every six years, is that the storm had to be so deadly, or so costly, that the reuse of the name would be "confusing or insensitive."

 One year after the storm, an advertising campaign hit the airwaves declaring, "We are stronger than the storm." It launched its own firestorm after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his family appeared in television advertisements. The marketing blitz was financed with federal money, sparking an investigation into whether Christie's gubernatorial re-election bid benefitted from the ads.


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Original Release: Mar 09, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

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