Sandy affects NU students’ homes

Although Norwich University itself wasn’t impacted directly by Hurricane Sandy, the family and friends of some students faced devastation in the aftermath, according to Norwich students.

“Hurricane Sandy didn’t affect Norwich as much as it did at home. Houses were destroyed and people lost their lives,” said Patrick LaFevre, 20, a junior history major from Milford, N.J. “Luckily my family is OK, but we still got hit pretty hard.”

Hurricane Sandy devastation

Mantoloking, N.J. – Oct 31: Homes sit in ruin at the end of a bridge wrecked by flooding from Hurricane Sandy.
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Photo

Hurricane Sandy has been reported to have caused 149 deaths, 82 in the northeast region of the United States. Sandy was one of the costliest natural disasters on record in the United States, totaling approximately $60 billion dollars, according to IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm. In New York City, home to many members of the Norwich community, the mayor’s office estimated total losses to the city to be $19 billion, $9.8 billion in aid being given by federal government for costs not covered by insurance of FEMA.

Norwich admissions reports that the university has approximately 325 students from New York and New Jersey, two of the most devastated states.

“To prepare for the storm my dad dug four-foot trenches around the house and covered them in plastic to make sure no water would get in the basement,” said Scott Knoll, 20, a sophomore criminal justice major from Columbus, N.J. “He also had to put sandbags on the cover for our boat, but they still got blown off anyways. And they were also supposed to hold down the garage, but that got blown away also.”

Knoll said that most families around New Jersey lost power for a good week and half.

“My family described to me high winds, periods of rain, like typhoon/heavy rains,” said James LaBell, 20, a junior communications major from Stanhope, N.J. “They lost power about four hours into the storm, and the power didn’t return until about 11 days after that.”

Without a generator, people were unable to take a hot shower, cook food, or use any running water, LaBell said.

“The scariest thing about it all was that everything in town was shut down, that’s what my brother told me,” said LaBell. “Restaurants and supermarkets were shut down for at least three days. So whatever you had at home was what you had to survive on.”

LaBell also noted that having supermarkets open a few days later didn’t help much because they ran out of supplies so quickly and there were no deliveries coming in.

“My mom was off work for a few days because there was no power and my dad had to work overtime to clear trees off the roads that had fallen down,” said LaFevre.

As if the power going out wasn’t enough, New Jersey also had a gas shortage, LaBell said.

“My brother had to go to Pennsylvania to buy gas, which was an hour away. He was searching for gas stations and then waiting in line, it was pretty crazy, he said,” LaBell reports.

For LaBell’s family, the main problem was pretty much just trees. It was primarily the wind that caused a lot of the damage.

“Trees hit a couple of my friends’ houses and they’re still out of their homes and living in hotels because of all of the construction,” he said. “They’re not able to get near their houses.”

Many New Jersey residents found themselves in the same situation all across the shoreline, which was destroyed by the wrath of powerful water and high winds.

“My uncle’s house on Long Beach Island is pretty destroyed, so he’s going to have a hard time rebuilding that,” said LaFevre. “I’m thankful at least he has a house on the other side of New Jersey and that was only his vacation house.”

The community is now forced to spend money and time to repair all of the damage that was caused from Hurricane Sandy. The holidays may be a bit different for those students heading back to homes in devastated regions.

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