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The differences in the handling of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy

By Carleton Whaley
On November 5, 2012

On October 29, the largest recorded storm in the Atlantic made landfall in New Jersey. With flooding in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as massive power outages and destruction, many are beginning to compare Hurricane Sandy to Hurricane Katrina. While Sandy was not as powerful in regards to wind speed, it was more than twice the diameter of Katrina, yet so far the death toll has been much lower, even though the area hit is the most populous area on the East Coast, with more than 2 million more people hit than Katrina. In many ways, this can be contributed to the preparation of citizens before the storm as well as federal action by groups like FEMA and the National Guard in its wake.
While the situation is still dire, there are already major signs that the federal government, as well as the American people, came together and persevered in spite of disaster and have helped to save many lives. Over 850,000 people were evacuated before Sandy hit, giving them time to escape disaster areas and coastal flooding. Of those who stayed, many were prepared, so that even in the face of 80mph winds and 8 million power outages, the death toll has so far only reached 100. In both storms, charity organizations and local authorities played an enormous role, but during Sandy the federal government has given much more input than previously. FEMA, once the butt of jokes and criticism for its failure with Katrina, is now a dominant force in aiding the people whose homes have been destroyed or who have lost power. Without their help, as well as other federal groups, the situation would, more than likely, be much worse.
The president visited New Jersey two days after the storm hit; half the time it took President Bush to respond after Katrina hit. Although some think there may be ulterior motives to his appearance due to the presidential race, operations to help those in danger have not been bogged down in politics. In fact, one of the most notable figures in this disaster has been New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who was reported to have yelled at reporters who asked about the upcoming election during the first few hours after the storm. This kind of action and intolerance for political schemas during a crisis shows a heartfelt sincerity and sense of action that is necessary to help his people, and while there are those who constantly question the motives of those in power, the federal government's response to Hurricane Sandy is one of the things that has prevented a catastrophic death toll and panic in disaster areas.
There are many fears that in the wake of the storm's destruction, the death toll may climb. With this in mind, everyone is hoping that power will be restored and displaced people will be adequately provided for, unlike the great tragedy that happened during Hurricane Katrina in which those in need of help drastically outnumbered rescuers. So far, as always, the American people have persevered throughout this ordeal and have supported each other. Coastal areas in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York have all suffered greatly, but many have managed to survive and persist through the mass flooding and loss of electricity. Hurricane Sandy has caused almost five times the power outages experienced in Katrina, and with winter fast approaching, this is an ever growing problem. With support from federal and local forces, however, there is hope for all of the survivors of this incredible storm. The National Guard, NGO's and local police, fire and EMT groups are hard at work every day now to ensure no one else is lost and that those in danger are given help. With all of these problems mounting as every day passes, the burden falls on rescue groups, both federal and not, to restore power and deal with the floods, but more than anything to keep people safe. So far, most people have been saved, and hopefully no one else will be lost to the effects of the storm. 


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