After slamming the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy came to the east coast of the United States on October 29, bringing rainfall and even snowfall in its path. The eye of the hurricane landed in southwest New Jersey, 10 kilometers from Atlantic City. Millions of dollars in property damage were reported, in addition to unofficial reports of 62 deaths and millions of residents without electricity in various states throughout the country, including Washington D.C.
Sandy has also paralyzed the entire city of New York. Its subway service, one of the most extensive in the world, has been suspended since the evening of October 28 and it is presumed to take approximately four to five more days to restore its function fully, while buses are the only transit system that is gradually getting back to regular service. Likewise, LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty airports are expected to resume air traffic control by the end of this week, while ferry services that connect to other towns in New Jersey and Connecticut have been cancelled and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels that connect New York to New Jersey remain flooded. Events like the Halloween Parade and the New York Marathon on November 4 will possibly be postponed until next week. The Stock Exchange, whose operations closed for the first time since the attack on September 11, 2001, re-opened on Wednesday, October 31.
Despite the fact that the presidential candidates have promised to focus on recovery efforts, the “superstorm” has not escaped the political scene. Editorials in some of the most important newspapers in the country accuse former governor and Republican candidate Mitt Romney of wanting to cut funds to FEMA, the agency responsible for responding to natural disasters, once he takes presidential office. Nevertheless, Romney denied these accusations and affirmed that rescue teams should receive more funding from the state. In a sign of bipartisanship, Republic governor of New Jersey Chris Christie and President Barack Obama applauded each other's immediate response to the catastrophe caused by the hurricane.
As expected, Sandy became a trending topic on Twitter and users like Raúl Avila Durán (@Raulavilad) took note of it:
@Raulavilad: El huracán #Sandy sigue siendo lo más leído. Aquí los vídeos más impactantes de la tormenta http://w.abc.es/jkqit4
@Raulavilad: Hurricane #Sandy continues to be the most read story. Here are the most shocking videos of the storm http://w.abc.es/jkqit4
Other users like Socrates García (@SocratesG21) witnessed the destruction that Sandy caused:
@SocratesG21: El frente de este edificio cae durante #HuracanSandy 15th & 8th Ave in NYC http://instagr.am/p/RbaREylRAH/
@SocratesG21: The front of this building fell during #HurricaneSandy 15th & 8th Ave in NYC http://instagr.am/p/RbaREylRAH/
Juan Jaime Flores (@juanjaimefl) talks about how some users on social networks have posted fake photos of Hurricane Sandy:
@juanjaimefl: “De 10″ La verdadera historia de las 10 fotos falsas del huracán Sandy: Por las redes sociales ha… http://bit.ly/Vb9xUd #Datosquevalen
@juanjaimefl: “From 10″ The true story of the 10 fake photos of Hurricane Sandy: On social networks … http://bit.ly/Vb9xUd #Validstats
End Isolation (@endisolation) points out that immigrants are the ones who have been lost to the natural phenomenon:
@endisolation: Huracán Sandy: Inmigrantes latinos los más afectados (VIDEO) http://huff.to/QSneTK via @HuffPostVoces
@endisolation: Hurricane Sandy: Latino immigrants were the most affected (VIDEO) http://huff.to/QSneTK via @HuffPostVoces
Accounts like that of GeoSolution Consult (@Geo_Solutions) explain Sandy's origin:
@Geo_Solutions: La supertormenta Sandy fue resultado de la casualidad de la confluencia de un Huracán tropical y un frente frío desde el norte.
@Geo_Solutions: Superstorm Sandy happened by chance as a result of the confluence of a tropical hurricane and a cold front from the north.
Below are a few images of the vestiges and chaos generated by Sandy in New York City, all taken by the author.
Few if any, however, remind their readers that there have been hurricanes in New York in 1938, 1893, 1869, 1821, 1815 and 1635 – all of magnitude 2 or 3.
(Back when there was no sophisticated weather service or even satellite surveillance, you often couldn’t tell a mag 1 hurricane from a much more normal storm.)
History is there to learn from it, not to ignore it. But that is exactly what is being done when this disaster – as Katrina before it – is blamed on climate change instead of corrupt politicians not building flood protection despite overwhelming historical evidence that severe flooding of a place is to be expected at least once a century.