1 minute readDisaster

Hurricane Sandy Memories

Hurricane Staten Island
Red Cross volunteer Catherine Barde gives a hot meal and a hug to a Staten Island resident.

A year ago today, I was headed to work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s pass through the Washington, DC area. The scene around me was dreary, with rain and windswept branches and leaves littering the streets. I remember the anxiety I felt, knowing that the storm had devastated areas in the Northeast far worse than it did in my home region. In fact, we had not known exactly where Sandy would hit the hardest, and it was a hollow comfort to consider how we had managed to dodge the bullet, while millions of others had to bear the full destructive force of the storm.

We worked our hardest in the months following Sandy’s landfall, doing what we could to participate in a relief effort that involved all levels of the community and incredible partnerships. I came in contact with so many people online who were scared, frustrated, exhausted, and overwhelmed by the scale of the clean up and recovery needs. However, those same people demonstrated an inspiring amount of grit and determination to do whatever it took to help their families, neighbors, and communities get back on their feet.

Hurricane Sandy - 2012 digiDOC
Our team in DC looking for posts about the storm on social media platforms, in order to help with relief efforts. Read more about our work here.

A year ago today, we faced a lot of unknowns. Today, we can look back and remember what we did and how we worked together.

I will take a few lessons with me for the rest of my life due to the experience responding to Sandy:

  1. A disaster like Sandy will always be larger than any one single person, group, or organization. We must work together and share the load.
  2. There is always a way to help. Things as simple as reaching out to a stranger online with empathy, or using your own connections to spread good information about how to help, can be extremely powerful.
  3. Resiliency boils down to the strength of our bonds with our fellow humans. It’s up to us to take the first steps in preparing ourselves and participating in our local communities.

If you’re interested in reading more details about what’s happened since Sandy hit, the Red Cross issued a one-year report which you can read here:

Superstorm Sandy One Year Update by American Red Cross