Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast on October 29th. To many, it seemed like the climax of an awful Roland Emmerich film: a huge, nasty looking storm, subways flooding worse than ever before, blackouts and power outages everywhere, and, sadly, even some scary religious fanatics clamoring that Sandy was God’s wrath against homosexuality. All silliness aside, though, the truth is that, for those affected by the storm, it was far from a Hollywood disaster movie.
Annoyingly dubbed “Frankenstorm,” Sandy made her way up the East Coast, battering states, such as New Jersey and New York. Roughly 1,000 miles wide, the hurricane even caused severe weather in parts of West Virginia and, believe it or not, the Lake Michigan area. The storm has obviously dissipated, but the death toll has reached, at least, 74 here in the United States, with an estimated 41 deaths thus far in New York City alone. The cost of damages left in Sandy’s wake exceeds $30 billion.
Many websites crashed, and many businesses suffered due to the storm; but, sadly, there is also a darker side to the
storm, as the death toll indicates. In the neighborhood of Breezy Point in Queens, NY, more than 80 homes were burnt to
the ground in a fire that spread quickly with no one there to put it out. Additionally, more than 50 blocks of homes were destroyed along the Rockaway Boardwalk, and hundreds of more homes were ravaged by flooding. Not just homes were impacted, though. The New York Daily News reports that the scientific community even suffered a major blow. Years of research has been destroyed or is in serious jeopardy, including thousands of mice used for cancer research and other experimentation that drowned due to Hurricane Sandy and the flooding she brought.
Most social media outlets exploded with coverage of Sandy, with thousands of pictures and statuses from those in the
giant storm’s path. As is sadly the case with many disasters, a USA Today reporter by the name of Marisol Bello discovered that many photos of the catastrophe were being faked or blown out of proportion, with some people even using screenshots from disaster movies to pretend to show the storm’s fury. People were taking advantage of a horrific situation to try to gain attention, in other words, an unfortunate part of how social media can be used in times such as these. Most of the news outlets that accidentally covered falsified stories have made retractions on any bogus reports.
With the storm finally passed, recovery and cleanup has begun. Debris is being cleared from roads, including countless vehicles that were moved by the storm’s incredible force. Airports are reopening, power is slowly being restored, and medical care, shelter, and relief are being provided for victims of the storm. Things aren’t exactly getting back to normal quickly on the East Coast, though. No one is quite sure of how long the major cleanup effort will take. Despite the disaster, many remain hopeful. As the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, said himself, “We will get through the days ahead by doing what we always do in tough times – by standing together, shoulder to shoulder, ready to help a neighbor, comfort a stranger, and get the city we love back on its feet.”