By Kristin Kownacky | email@example.com
While Flagler College had anticipated Hurricane Sandy’s wrath with bated breaths, there was nothing so great as that sigh of relief as she passed St. Augustine. Yet, seeing that Flagler is home to many students hailing from the Northeast, when Sandy dodged Florida, the storm headed straight for student’s families and friends.
The damage in the Northeast was catastrophic. Homes and towns were destroyed, power was knocked out for millions and the predicted costs to rebuild are in the billions of dollars.
Flagler College students waited and hoped for the news that the hurricane had missed their families and homes. Some received good news.
Scott Harrison, from Wilmington, DE, said his family and neighborhood took serious precautions against the storm. However, as it edged closer to the Delaware coast, the anticipation of what could happen had Harrison on edge.
“My mom promised to text me and call me once it hit, but she never did so I was really worried after watching the damage. Seeing the damage and being so close was frightening,” Harrison said. He is thankful that his family and home made out fine.
Yet, while houses and cars around the neighborhood were struck by fallen trees, the damage was not as tragic as was predicted. Others, however, were not so lucky.
Bridget Schaaff’s hometown of West Long Branch, NJ, felt the brunt of Sandy’s rage. While Schaaff’s family and home were spared, the surrounding town was not so fortunate.
“One of my neighboring towns is completely condemned. The ocean breached the sea wall and destroyed beach homes and beach clubs. My neighbors had trees hit their houses. My friend’s first floor is filled with water and sea creatures. The entire first floor is submerged,” Schaaff said.
The damage in Schaaff’s town is devastating, a fate for much of the Northeast coast. While warnings and evacuations were issued, they just were not heeded or enough.
“I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was, nobody was prepared,” Schaaff said.
Avery Patterson, from Fordham University in Bronx, N.Y., suffered substantially less, as the Bronx is at a higher sea level than lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
However, the school took precautions to keep students in their rooms, as well as prepare them to evacuate. No evacuation was necessary, and avoided the damage that struck throughout the city.
“Our campus has a lot of trees on it and so there were a lot of branches down and a few full trees were uprooted. Our internet was knocked out for about two days as well as our campus email server,” Patterson said. “Over half of the subway tunnels were flooded and so the subway service was cancelled. Some of it is back up and running but city workers are still trying to drain the water and it could take weeks or even months before it will be back to normal.”
Before Sandy hit there were mixed feelings throughout Fordham regarding the incoming storm. Some were extremely nervous of the possible dangers. Others, like Patterson, who had never experienced anything like it felt tinges of excitement, the thrill of a dangerous adventure.
“Once the storm passed and we all realized how destructive it actually was we were all very thankful that it hadn’t caused as much damage in our area. Lower Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island were totally ravaged and a lot of people lost everything. New York, and really the entire northeast, just aren’t prepared for these kinds of natural disasters,” Patterson said.
Whether or not preparation could have spared destruction is at question. However, the damage has indeed been done. The places hit worst by the hurricane are in ruins. Some people have lost everything, and in these times of tragedy they must depend on the charity of others.
However, in such a tragedy, those fortunate enough to be spared by the storm can be thankful for the shelter, food and belongings they have. Yet more importantly, if all those things were lost, as is for so many affected by any natural disaster, hold on to the intangible things, like love, friendship, hospitality and good will, that still remain.