S-CAFH Key Findings

Listed below are selected key findings from the first two S-CAFH briefing reports, the S-CAFH Place Report, and the S-CAFH Person Report. View and download the full reports here.

Evacuation & Decision-Making

Approximately 24% of the residents living in the most highly-exposed areas of the nine affected counties, or about 240,000 people, were under a mandatory evacuation order.

  • Over one-third of those residents complied with the manda­tory evacuation order.
  • South Jersey residents were twice as likely to evacuate as were North Jersey residents.

Approximately 110,000 residents in the nine hardest-hit counties were living in homes that suffered major structural damage or were destroyed, and an additional 90,000 people were living in homes that sustained enough damage to make them uninhabitable for a short period of time.

Help Needed

Approximately one-quarter of residents living in the Disaster Footprint needed practical assistance.

  • Needs included clearing debris, repairing and restoring homes, and elevating their homes to protect them from future storms.
  • Sixteen percent of New Jersey residents expressed a need for financial help in paying rent, mortgage, or utilities, about half of whom also had expressed a need for practical repair services.
  • For housing-related needs such as debris clearing or replacing furnishings, between 40-50% of residents with a need applied for assistance.
  • For elevating, restoring, or repairing a home, approximately 80% applied for assistance.

Characterizing Exposure to the Storm

The majority of respondents were exposed to the storm.

Over 60% of residents were directly exposed to at least one of the immediate hazards associated with the storm: 32% of residents came into direct contact with the floodwaters, 56% came into direct contact with storm debris, and 22% were directly exposed to storm-related mold in their homes.

  • Almost all (90%) of the residents whose homes suffered major structural damage reported being directly exposed to floodwaters, debris, or mold.

Many residents experienced adverse financial impacts as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

  • Approximately 18% residents lived in a household whose income decreased after Sandy.
  • Thirteen percent of residents noted that their household had lost income, a business, or a job.
  • Approximately one in every ten residents reported problems in the prior six months with having enough money to cover the rent or mortgage, to cover utilities, to pay for transportation, or to pay for food.

Impacts & Health

Housing damage can be a risk factor for poor health that has an effect on people’s lives remarkably similar to the effect of poverty.

  • Within the Disaster Footprint, those individuals living in homes that sustained major structural damage, regardless and independent of their household’s income level, expressed health problems that were often mirror images of those who lived in deep poverty, with household incomes less than $20,000 a year.
  • These included a variety of household constraints.

Exposure to mold was associated with both clinically-diagnosed asthma and with mental health distress.

  • Adults who were exposed were 2.5 times as likely as those not exposed to mold to be diagnosed with asthma after the storm, and were twice as likely to report mental health distress.

Children living in homes that experienced minor damage were at particularly high risk for psychological and emotional issues.

  • Children living in homes with minor damage were over four times as likely to be sad or depressed, and over twice as likely to have problems sleeping since the storm as were children from homes with no damage.
  • These levels of emotional and mental distress amongst children in homes with minor damage were higher even than those reported by children living in homes with major structural damage.