Hurricane Sandy has earned its place in hurricane history and will be remembered, talked about and debated over for many years to come.
It is now day two of the post-Sandy world that many people from North Carolina to New England now live in. Their lives will be different from now on. A new normal will set in and Sandy will be a benchmark for the millions of people affected; most of all, for the immediate coast of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Now comes the part where money is unleashed like a raging river. The states affected will do what they can but will inevitably have to lean on the Federal Government for assistance. This is especially so when it comes to infrastructure.
For homeowners who did not have flood insurance and were impacted by surge, they are 100% out of luck from their homeowner’s insurance. They will have a long battle ahead. Just ask people who were affected by Katrina’s surge. I feel for these folks as I think about the agonizing amount of work that it will take to find out they are not covered.
Local governments will soon learn how difficult it is to deal with contracts for debris removal, clean up, temporary housing and more. A large scale disaster like this takes time to gain momentum when it comes to the recovery aspect. However, what’s amazing is that once it gets started, it accelerates. While probably not as fast as people would like, the wheel gets moving and it picks up speed. Each day will get a littler better. Sure there will be set backs and lost battles. Some people will have to bury their loved ones. It is a tough, tough thing to go through and I have seen it over and over in my career studying the effects of hurricanes on society. But it does get better.
When I had the honor the meet New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in Belmar, I told him and the crowd that the best thing they can do is work together. Use this calamity to pull together and help each other out. Utilize local resources and talents. This is what makes a community like Belmar stronger after a disaster such as Sandy. I have seen it with my own two eyes, I know it works.
I am working on a documentary about hurricanes and how they have left their mark on America in ways that few people truly understand. I never thought that I would be adding coastal New Jersey to the list of places along the so-called Hurricane Highway, the title of the project.
I will be back to Belmar and Long Branch, where I worked much of the Sandy field mission. Time will pass and progress will be made. The roads will be cleared and new construction will begin to take shape. Spirits will be lifted as signs of Sandy are gradually removed truck-load by truck-load. Then, the people and the places will commence in the healing process and will talk about Sandy very much in the past tense; even though Sandy will always be a part of them. Tomorrow begins day three, one day closer to a new normal. I wish you all the best of luck, I’ll be pulling for you!