This latest report from Alert Net, regarding the situation in Northeastern United States:
“As the last remnants of Hurricane Sandy move out of the Northeast, the response to the superstorm continues. The U.S. death toll from the storm is up to 85 in 10 different states. Some 5.5 million electrical customers, down from a peak of 8.5 million, are still without electrical power; the storm caused power outages extending from Maine to North Carolina and as far west as Kentucky and Ohio. Hardest hit is New Jersey where 2,500,000 customers are still without power.
The storm was more than 1,000 miles wide at its peak. The following states were affected: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia. Approximately 13,000 people are reported staying in shelters across the impacted states.
Sandy’s most severe impact appears to be in the state of New Jersey and in New York City, where the center of the storm made landfall. While it will be some time yet before damage assessments are complete, extensive damage from floodwaters occurred across the nation’s largest city in most of its five boroughs. In the Breezy Point section of Queens, more than 100 homes burned when gas from ruptured lines ignited. Firefighters were unable to reach the homes due to floodwaters.
Much of the city continues to remain without power forcing the evacuation of patients from a number of hospitals. Many locales will remain flooded until power is restored and pumps can be activated. Progress is being made as limited bus and subway operations are being restored.
The situation in New Jersey is grim, with much of the state’s coastline now demolished or heavily damaged. In Hoboken, as many as 20,000 of the city’s residents were trapped in apartments on flooded streets, and had no power. Heavy-duty National Guard vehicles are now at work bringing relief to the survivors.
Elsewhere, in North Carolina Sandy flooded 400 homes. In Ohio there is flooding along the Cuyahoga, Chagrin and Grand Rivers near Cleveland. In West Virginia homes have been destroyed when roofs collapsed due to more than 24 inches of snow falling. Communities in West Virginia are now bracing for the flooding that will result when the snow melts. All across the northeast homes have been destroyed and damaged by fallen trees.”
Church World Service Disaster Response Specialists are working with state, regional and local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, known as VOADS, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, our member denominations and other agencies to determine where CWS denominations are helping and are needed. CWS is providing material resources, including blankets, hygiene kits, school kits, baby kits and clean-up buckets to local agencies in four states: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Total amount of current shipments: $481,577. More shipments are in process.
The initial response phase has not yet ended; as the affected areas become safe to enter teams from CWS-member communities will assess the damage, help home owners repair damaged houses and develop plans for future long-term recovery activities to include major home repairs and rebuilds. CWS also will assist communities in developing Long Term Recovery plans, providing technical and financial support, and providing on site Long Term Recovery training.
According to ABC News and other news sources, as residents of several Northeast states try to recover from Superstorm Sandy, a nor’easter is expected to bring more rain, wind and cold over the next three days. Cold air will bring uncomfortable wind chills to places already impacted by Sandy. On Wednesday, wind gusts up to 55 mph are expected to reach the region. Possible localized flooding from heavy rain and snow may cause more power outages, resulting in dangerous travel.
We’ve all heard the saying “when it rains, it pours.” Our friends in the Northeast are suffering in many ways, through the loss of their homes, belongings, power, in addition to waiting in long lines for fuel for their cars and generators. There are many organizations such as the Salvation Army, Red Cross, and others that are helping them and accepting donations; and as always, thousands of volunteers working alongside professional rescue and response teams. Clothing, blankets, and other supplies are being sent from all across the U.S. Do what you can to offer help; please don’t forget our fellow Americans in their time of need.
Texas America Safety Company offers all types of personal protective equipment for those who are working in the flood cleanup. It is important that all workers are protected from the remnants of debris and pathogens in the devastation.