Hurricane Sandy: Lessons Learned, Again

Hurricane Sandy was a sobering reminder to those of us who call New York home that it is a port city and subject to the whims of wind and water. The storm itself was massive: climatologically, a thousand miles wide at its peak; economically, an estimated excess of $50 billion in damages. In the New York metropolitan area, 97 people died in the storm, thousands were displaced from their homes, and 2 major hospitals required perilous evacuations even as the hurricane force winds engulfed the metropolitan region. For those of us in the fields of disaster medicine and public health preparedness, the question is, were we ready? During the past decade considerable public investment has been made in standardizing command and communication, assuring appropriate and rapid supply chains, and training the medical and public health workforces to respond appropriately. And yet, in the week after the storm, persistent reports of widespread gaps in the provision of coordinated relief were received from the Rockaways to Coney Island to Staten Island and New Jersey. The question was not one of capacity and capability as much as it was of communication and coordination. Resources did not always make it the last mile to reach those most in need.

Natural Disaster
Disaster Response