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Two years, $68 billion since Hurricane Sandy
It has been nearly two years since Hurricane Sandy first made landfall on October 29, 2012 in New Jersey. The aftermath left over an estimated $68 billion in damage resulting in the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history, just behind Hurricane Katrina. The storm left at least 286 people dead. Hurricane Sandy impacted a total of twenty-four U.S. states, Canada, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Cuba, and Haiti.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in partnership with the federal family and state and local governments, has been on the scene helping individuals, government entities and eligible non-profits as citizens from Florida to Maine recover from the storm’s devastation.
FEMA has funded more than 3,500 Public Assistance projects including repairing and restoring hospitals, schools, transit venues, waterways, parks, beaches, marinas, water treatment plants, and public buildings. A roster of services has been restored, including utilities critical to everyday life. Billions of federal dollars have been expended during the past two years.
In August 2013, the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy, issued by President Obama’s Sandy Recovery Task Force, mandated that federal agencies work collaboratively across all levels of government and the private sector to promote a regional and cross-jurisdictional approach to resilience. To address this mandate, the SRO has created the Sandy Recovery Infrastructure Resilience Coordination (SRIRC) group, which serves as the primary facilitator for federal agency coordination on recovery/resiliency projects. The SRIRC includes federal partners as well as representatives of the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, the City of New York and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
One of the most important mandates for the SRO is capturing lessons learned and best practices from our experience in managing the recovery from one of the largest U.S. disasters to hit a densely populated area. From this experience, we will develop templates to serve future disaster recovery operations.
“We are here for the long haul and committed to finishing the work begun right after Sandy hit,” said SRO Executive Director Laura Phillips. “Through the SRO, FEMA and the family of federal agencies, together with our state and local government and voluntary agency partners, continue to help disaster survivors, whether individuals or communities, rebuild stronger and more resilient."
Much of the $68 billion has been given to help survivors with temporary housing assistance and disaster unemployment assistance. Public Assistance funds have been granted to communities and non-profit organizations to help with debris removal and permanent repair projects to protect against damage from future storms.