Ten years ago, Hurricane Sandy became one of the most-powerful storms to strike the most densely populated areas of our nation, killing 160 people and causing more than $65 billion in property damage. FEMA led a large-scale response that involved federal, state and local officials and resources to help the millions impacted from Florida to Maine and inland to West Virginia and Ohio, particularly those in the harder hit areas of New York and New Jersey.
The “superstorm” caused disruptions in 24 states, bringing heavy rains, flooding, strong winds and even snow. Millions along the Eastern Seaboard lost power, tens of thousands lost homes and needed shelter, and the debris removal process continued for months. FEMA mobilized a then-unprecedented amount of resources before, during and after the storm to support the recovery. Here are some of the numbers:
- More than 17,000 federal personnel deployed (including 7,500 FEMA staff), in addition to over 11,000 National Guard personnel across the impacted states.
- More than $1.2 billion in housing assistance delivered to more than 174,000 survivors.
- More than $800 million obligated for debris removal and infrastructure restoration.
- More than $4.4 billion in flood insurance payments were made to 68,000 policyholders.
As the Sandy response continued, FEMA continued to provide needed supplies and commodities to affected areas. By the first two weeks after the storm, FEMA had shipped 20 million liters of water, 16 million meals, 1.7 million blankets, 79,000 cots, 138,000 tarps, 568 generators, 105 infant and toddler kits (capable of serving 1,050 children for one week), 5 Durable Medical Equipment kits (capable of serving 1,250 survivors), and 4 Consumable Medical Supply kits (capable of serving 1,000 survivors for one week).
Hurricane Sandy placed a spotlight on FEMA’s ability to respond to disasters and provided lessons that continue to inform our work as severe weather events have increased in frequency and intensity.