By Jenny Pearce
Hurricane Sandy, now dubbed ‘Frankenstorm’, has forced the evacuation of thousands of people from the East Coast of the United States. More than 8 million homes have been left without power, with millions more still under threat.
The huge post-tropical storm has caused mass devastation in its path, leading to the deaths of 62 people where it began in the Caribbean, 52 of which were in Haiti, and now at least 48 people in the US and Canada.
The media has been rife with images of what is happening in the US. Footage released showed a large explosion at a power plant in New York, which caused a huge loss in electricity.
New York and New Jersey have been declared ‘massive danger zones’ and scenes of New York, where as many as 370,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, have been bordering on apocalyptic, with mass flooding leaving areas in up to 13 ft surges of water. Photographs of Brooklyn, New York, attraction Jane’s Carousel, surrounded by the flood and subways filled with water have become iconic images of the storm.
Some residents of coastal towns, who have experienced winds of up to 90 mph, were advised not to leave their homes, with many councils opting against evacuating. These may have tuned into TV stations such as ABC, that has been offering tips to residents on how to keep their families safe after the storm has hit, paying particular attention to perishable food items and the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning from the use of generators.
Bristol resident, Sean Carr, 2, has been waiting to hear from his grandmother, who lives in Long Beach, New Jersey. “She wasn‘t evacuated,” he says. “She’s fine, but I’m scared about her house, as Long Beach is such a thin Island and looking at the map, [it’s] first in line of Sandy’s path.”.
Information about Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic is harder to come by than that of the East Coast, as the reporting thins drastically. In fact, if you look at many main news organisations , the fact that the Caribbean had also been ravaged by the storm only really became big news when the superstorm moved on to the US.
Many living in the East Coast will see their lives change during the initial storm, but with New York being such a key area and with elections on the way, it won’t take long for areas in the US and Canada to rebuild and pump out the water left behind by the catastrophe.
For Haiti however, the future looks dark. Since the earthquake of 2010, much of Haiti still lies in rubble, with many Haitians living in flimsy structures. Dirty flood waters mixed with a lack of aid and medication could mean a outbreak of malaria.
You can donate to the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, which will support relief efforts by organisations working in both the Caribbean and the East Coast of the United States by clicking here.