Recovering from Hurricane Sandy
The recovery from Hurricane Sandy has slowly started to begin across America as residents and business owners come to terms with the devastation that has been caused since October 29.
The superstorm, which killed at least 64 people and cut electricity to over eight million, affected the entire eastern seaboard and caused the most damage in Hoboken, New Jersey. The US National Guard was forced to rescue people and deliver meals to trapped residents after the city of 50,000 people was overrun by floodwater.
The clean up is thought to be one of the most expensive in US history and it is estimated to cost up to £10 billion in insurance claims.
Here are some some tips on dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane:
* Clean water
The first advice offered to residents by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to stay out of the remaining flood water, which could contain raw sewage or other poisons. A lot of water is also not safe to drink. Bottled water which has not been exposed to the flood is best but tap water can be boiled for one minute to kill diseases. If it is cloudy, the EPA advise filtering it through a clean cloth or allowing it to settle before boiling.
The EPA also advises clearing out any mold, wearing gloves, goggles and a respirator mask. It’s also good to get rid of anything which has been wet for more than a day, remove any standing water and dry everything else.
Some power has been restored to the flood-hit area, with New York governor Andrew Cuomo saying this morning that just over 1,500,000 residents were still without power. Limited trains in and out of New York have been restored and parts of the subway system, which was flooded by Sandy, started again on Thursday morning. But many buildings are still running on generators, which emit toxic carbon monoxide and need to be kept outside for ventilation.
An unexpected post-flood danger is puddles. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday: “If you see a power line down, don’t go near it. We’ve had some people killed for stepping in a puddle where a power line had also touched the water”.
On Tuesday President Obama declared parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut major disaster areas. The storm left tonnes of rubble and building remains in its wake, which have to be removed before rebuilding can begin. The EPA says burying or burning is no longer acceptable without special permission because of the side effects from smoke and fire burning while burying can lead to soil contamination.
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