Superstorm Sandy

Who Helped the Most After Superstorm Sandy?

From friends to feds.


There's a lot of interesting stuff in the AP/NORC report on resilience in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. For example:

Here comes trouble.

Sixty-three percent of those who turned to friends, family, or neighbors within a mile of their home say they helped quite a bit or a great deal. Even among those individuals in the neighborhoods most affected by Superstorm Sandy, friends, family, and neighbors are cited as providing quite a bit of help when asked. First responders also rated as helpful; 60 percent of respondents who turned to first responders for help report that they provided quite a bit or a great deal of assistance.

Other groups were deemed not as helpful by individuals affected by the storm. Just 31 percent of those who asked their utility company for help report that they actually received at least quite a bit of help during or after the storm. Both the state and federal governments rate poorly as well among those individuals in the affected region who asked them for help. Only 26 percent and 19 percent, respectively, report receiving a great deal or quite a bit of help from these sources. Employers and neighborhood business were also less helpful. Just 35 percent of individuals who asked for help report receiving at least quite a bit of assistance from employers, and 33 percent report the same from neighborhood businesses.

So, in descending order of helpfulness: friends and family, first responders, businesses, state governments, feds.

Update: Looks like my colleague Ed Krayewski beat me to this one.

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  1. But who was most helped by Hurricane Sandy? That’s right, and he was helped because FEMA did such an outstanding job. I saw it on the news.

  2. I have this feeling of deja vu….

  3. Sheesh, Jesse. No hat tip for Ed?

  4. Wait, I thought that Obama went to New Jersey during the hurricane and pulled children and kittens out of flooded basements, then stuck around to rebuild houses.

    Does Gov. Christie know??

    1. Well, Obama did do a nice one-day photo-op with governor fatty, and then pissed off back to DC. Yeah, that was a tremendous help.

      1. Obama did do a nice one-day photo-op with governor fatty, and then pissed off back to DC the campaign trail.


        1. Correction accepted.

      2. I fucking hate it when presidents visit disaster areas. It really can’t do anything but hinder recovery efforts to have some asshole with his press entourage and hundreds of Secret Service around.

        1. But the PR campaign???

  5. The idea that the government helps anyone after a disaster is laughable. There may be the isolated use of the army/militia/Coast Guard to rescue a few people, but I’ve never even seen the government around in the natural disasters I’ve been in. It was all locals and utilities companies.

    1. They’re worse than unhelpful. They actively get in the way and prevent people from helping. The best thing a government can do during an emergency (or any other time as far as I’m concerned) is get the hell out of the way.

      1. You can’t allow bottled water to be delivered without first asking permission and taking orders from federal officials! What kind of monster are you?

        1. Those Canadians who had all their guns confiscated during house-by-house searches after a recent flood were clearly being protected by their government too.

        2. How else will you guarantee that only government approved (TM) water bottles are distrubuted to the people, huh? Can’t have someone pay a huge bribe to have government buy and peddle their bottled water only to have some peasant deliver some other kind of water an ruin the golden goose.

      2. When Hurricane Gloria came through (the eye went right over my house; during the eye I went down the street on my bike jumping downed power lines), I literally saw no government agents of any kind. The only people out doing anything were regular people and the power company. There might have been some town crews working on downed trees but that was actually mostly being taken care of by residents just so they could actually drive somewhere.

    2. During Katrina, the government actually got in the way of help. Government agencies turned away water and supply trucks because they didn’t have “authorization” to enter the city. Katrina proved to me once and for all that government only makes natural disasters worse.

      1. Freedom means asking permission and taking orders.

    3. Salvation Army and Wal-Mart.

      Those are the two go to outfits right after a disaster. If you need rescuing, the Coast Guard is aces.

      After that, the “G” does naught but slow things down and tie it up in regulation, red tape and “planning”.

      1. Red Cross.

        Also, don’t forget the heroic work done by volunteer fire and rescue organizations; of course I don’t think NYC has any volunteer units; anyone know?

    4. For which I am thankful. The last people I want to see while cleaning up after a disaster are a bunch of yahoos living their childhood fantasies on the taxpayer dime. I’ve had to clean up after a hurricane and a tornado. No damage from that odd duck of a wind storm that came through in June but a neighbor got a row of trees swept away and an RV crushed. That one was just — weird.

    5. After Hurricane Andrew there were loads of government people around.

      Unfortunately, they were most concerned with keeping people in and out of a quarantine area, and pointing shotguns at the head of a 16 year old kid standing in his front yard after a mandatory curfew.

      There are many reasons the mad one is mad.

  6. It’s obvious that we didn’t give the state and federal governments enough leeway to help. Their presence and the amount that they were helping couldn’t be helped because too many businesses and private individuals and charities were in the way gumming up the works!

  7. “Superstorm” should be reseved for Category 4 or 5.

    Sandy only briefly hit Cat 3 and was never more than Cat 2 when onshore in the US.

    The only reason it is called a “Superstorm” is that it hit the media pussies in NYC.

    1. But Aresen, Sandy shut down the B train. How are they supposed to get home to Brooklyn?

      1. Take the A train?

    2. Actually, the reason they called it a superstorm is because NOAA decided to remove the ‘Hurricane’ designation and classify it as a ‘post-tropical cyclone with hurricane force winds’. It was the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history and the largest Atlantic hurricane on record. All of that factored into the ‘superstorm’ label.

      1. Trenberth does agree that the storm was caused by “natural variability” but adds that it was “enhanced by global warming”.[39] One factor contributing to the storm’s strength was abnormally warm sea surface temperatures offshore the East Coast of the United States?more than 3 ?C (5 ?F) above normal, to which global warming had contributed 0.6 ?C (1 ?F)

      2. Except that it was labeled a SUPERSTORM before any of that damage had taken place. And the reason it was so costly is because of WHERE it hit, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the severity of the storm itself.

        Had that same storm hit Florida, people would have literally been partying. I once did my bit helping with rehabilitating beached whales in the midst of a hurricane stronger than Sandy. Outside, in a small above ground pool filled with sea water.

    3. I know this is some kind of mantra to some, but the storm surge is what made Sandy so nasty. The Con Ed plant in Manhattan blew up, dude. That’s sort of a big deal. Such extensive flooding is way worse than Cat 4 or 5 winds. But hey, keep pretending it wasn’t a massive amount of damage because then you can engage in your REGION WAR idiocy.

      1. ^^This, seconded.

        1. It disturbs me how otherwise non-collectivist people suddenly find it fun and enjoyable to condemn everyone in a region because that region’s government is retarded. Tropes about “you get the government you deserve” are always amusing as well, seeing as if that’s true, it applies to every single one of us sitting here under the Obama administration. Did any of us ask for this? Did we get the government we deserve?

          1. I find I can predict the outcome of an election with about 90% accuracy by taking the inverse of my ballot.

          2. I didn’t see Aresen talking about the NYC government. Did you?

            1. Yeah, it has nothing to do with the fact that NYC has a ridiculous asshole for a mayor, passes all kinds of anti-liberty laws, and has a horrific police force. Nothing.

              Is being a disingenuous asshole your natural state, or do you just go into it when you want to be a collectivist REGION WAR moron?

              1. So…wait…you did see Aresen talking about the NYC government, or you did not? I could not see the answer through the thick spray of spittle and tears.

                1. Ah, perfect: the retreat into technicality. I love it. That collectivism is just so alluring, isn’t it? What next? How about some misogyny? You know you have it in you.

                  1. Technicality? Dude, seriously, this is embarassing. Aresen was criticizing what he believed to be outsized coverage and provided an explanation for said coverage. He didn’t say anything about your average pwecious NYer, little guy.

                    But don’t let that stop your tiny fists of rage.

                    1. Yes, it is embarrassing how you cling to your impotent REGION WAR collectivist insecurity, but have to squirm and struggle to pretend it isn’t. Those damn New Yorkers! How dare they do things and stuff!

                      Why the fuck do you care so very much about New York? It doesn’t care about you. It doesn’t care about me either. But I don’t get all butthurt about it.

                    2. “But I don’t get all butthurt about it.”

                      What do you call your little tantrum?

                      Please note, for the third time, that Aresen never said anything about your pwecious average NYer. This isn’t about what he said; it’s about your inability to read.

                    3. Actually, it’s about yours and Aresen’s and plenty of others’ obsession with New York. I’ll quote you:

                      “It’s funnier pushing the buttons of sensitive (ex) NYCers.”

                      Why do you care? Why are you obsessed with New York? Why do you want to “push their buttons”?

                      REGION WAR is about one thing: insecurity. How does yours feel?

                    4. It’s really just one button I’m enjoying pushing right now. Can you guess whose it is?

                    5. It is funny, though, that all it takes to reduce you to a mewling pile of mush is an *imagined* slight against the Sanctified City.

                    6. My god you are truly obsessed with New York. Is your insecurity really that colossal? I guess so. Where on the doll did New York touch you?

                    7. Is New York code for Your Mom? If so, the answer is, “All over.”

                    8. I live in New York and I don’t care about the city (unless I need to kick start some hate, then I think about the damage it’s done to upstate). I don’t get why anyone cares about that place.

      2. It’s funnier pushing the buttons of sensitive (ex) NYCers.

        1. Or that’s just your pathetic excuse for engaging in wholesale collectivism.

          1. Hmmm….


            Nope. This is just funnier.

            1. Whatever you need to tell yourself, collectivist.

      3. Because the plant wasn’t built for that kind of storm, which, again, has NOTHING to do with the severity of the storm itself.

    4. The only reason it is called a “Superstorm” is that it hit the media pussies in NYC.

      Yeah, not because of all the actual damage that it caused. Being the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history had nothing to do with it.

      1. Yes it was the second costliest hurricane. But that’s because New York is heavily built in the fucking flood plain.


        1. Sure, if there were no cities, there would be much less to damage in a big storm. So?

          1. No, I am saying that cost is a bad way to measure “superstorms”.

            1. It was also the largest Atlantic hurricane on record. Multiple factors went into the designation.

          2. He has a bit of a point there, though. You don’t call something a Superstorm just because of the cost of the damage, otherwise regular thunderstorms in NYC are “bigger” than massive ones that make landfall outside of Asshole, Georgia.

          3. I’m more concerned with loss of human lives and people displaced from their homes as a measure of storm severity.

            1. So, yes, regular thunderstorms in NYC should be called “Super” and massive storms in BFE should be called nothing?

              That isn’t how NOAA or meterology work.

              1. First paragraph: No. You’re misreading me.

                Second Paragraph: I know that. Nothing I wrote contradicted that. I’m concerned with measuring the impact of the disaster as opposed to measuring the energy of the storm.

      2. My wife’s aunt found herself sitting in the basement of a house that no longer existed in a neighborhood that no longer existed because an F5 tornado blew everything away. I doubt it made more than a brief mention in the news outside Iowa.

        But we should all weep for the dumbshits that live in flood plains in regions where hurricanes are likely to occur.

        1. So we should weep for people who live in tornado prone regions?

          1. You’re talking geogrphically small areas which will flood when there’s any type of storm surge or tsunami (NYC) versus huge tracts of land which are prone to tornadoes; but no individual location in that vast locus is guaranteed to be hit by tornado.

            Also, IIRC NYC area monetary damages were more than they would have been had the tunnels been properly sealed.

            1. It’s not really possible to “seal” the tunnels. The tunnels are below sea leavel and already have to have pumps running 24/7 to keep them dry.

              A storm surge simply overwhelms the pumping system. The only thing to do is wait til its over and bring in bigger pumps and clean up.

              Of course, sealing electrical systems and proper maintenance can mean the cleanup will go smoother.

              1. The really stupid part is that knowing that NYC basemsnt will flood, the owners of buildings put their emergency generators there. In fact, I recently read somewhere that the NYC bilding code required it. It’s only been recently that they changed the code so that builders could put emergency gear and electrical switchgear on floors above the flood stage.

                1. They used to put computer equipment in basements, too, before they figured out why that was a bad idea. Never underestimate the power of stupid.

              2. Oops. Plugs are under development, but weren’t available at the time of Hurricane Sandy.

                And yes, I know there’s constant leakage which requires constant pumping, but sealing the entrances to prevent massive infiltration of salt water during storm surges would be a big help.

                Saltwater damage to subway electical gear was one of the big ticket items for Sandy damage.

                1. Good point, Tonio. You are quite correct, closing entrances to water would help a lot, I should think.

                  Thanks for that link.

          2. Really, the area is known as “Tornado Alley” for a reason.

        2. We shouldn’t weep for anyone unless we feel like it. The fact is that Sandy was a really big storm that hit a highly populated area. You know that there is a reason why NYC is where it is that prevents it moving to higher ground? It was bound to happen some time, so it’s not really a surprise, but it is still a big deal.

          1. The cost of relocation would be astronomical. Also, many individual rights and property rights issues. Don’t mention this again, Bloomie would love an excuse to mess with peoples’ lives to that degree.

            The only thing absolutely not relocatable is the port of NY; doesn’t work to move that inland.


        They were calling Sandy a “Superstorm” before it ever did any significant damage

        1. I always thought the Superstorm designation had something to do with hurricane + GLOBAL WARMING!!111!!!

          1. Yeah, seems I remember it being a global warming scare tactic also, but I’m too lazy to dig through news archives for that.

          2. I always thought the Superstorm designation had something to do with hurricane + GLOBAL WARMING!!111!!!

            This is exactly right.

            The Superstorm designation was a ploy to rile up the greenies and make NYers feel better about why their city got so fucked up during a relatively minor storm that other, smaller, less well equipped cities would weather just fine.

      4. I haven’t got a dog in this fight (although I did return on Sunday after visiting NYC for the first time), but “costliest” and “powerful enough to qualify” sound to me like different attributes. Christ, that place is populous. Of course anything above a bracing gust passing through NYC will cause millions in damages. Anyway, the “superstorm” label, at least from what I recall, seemed tacked on because CLIMATE CHANGES BRAH and the usual federal disaster pumping.

        I’m not denying it was a disaster, just that whatever metric the feds want to apply will be motivated by public posturing.

        1. I’m not denying it was a disaster, just that whatever metric the feds want to apply will be motivated by public posturing.

          The scuttlebutt from the risk management folks was that it was termed “superstorm” Sandy so damages could be claimed under the homeowner’s policies of vast numbers of people that have explicit carve outs for Hurricane damage. So yes, public posturing.

    5. I have no problem with “Superstorm”. There is a lot more to the severity of a storm than wind speed. It was a really large storm which caused a lot of damage. In any case, it was way less stupid than the new trend of naming winter storms.

      1. Eventually they’ll be naming thunderstorms.

      2. Uh, Zeb, dude. The wind speed is the best measure of the energy of the storm system. The energy drives the storm surge, so yeah it’s a useful measure.

        1. Didn’t say it wasn’t useful or meaningful. Just that it isn’t everything. A very large storm that moves slowly, for example, can do a lot more flooding damage than a fast moving smaller storm with higher winds.

          1. Tell that to those who went through Andrew, a small, fast moving storm that had 155+ MPH winds.

            You don’t get this kind of widespread damage in storms that don’t have high winds.

  8. Heh heh, semi OT – The Day After Tomorrow is on in the break room at my work.

    1. Worst movie ever. Well, I caught 5 minutes towards the end of the Matthew Broderick Godzilla which was perhaps the worst 5 minutes of film released by a studio not headed by Ed Wood.

  9. “So, in descending order of helpfulness: friends and family, first responders, businesses, state governments, feds.”

    technically it is the descending order of how much people felt they were helped.

    1. Because there is no objective measure of helpfulness. There is no quantum of helpfulness. You can measure certain specific effects number of shelter bed nights (number of people sheltered times number of nights each received shelter), bottles water distributed, meals served, homes restored. Combining all these into a single measure is tough.

      However, you just gave me an idea for a second career. Shame that the majority of jobs doing this are with govt.

  10. I live in Iowa, so I have a non-trivial probability that my house will be hit by a tornado. I have already experienced a storm that drove straight-line winds at 100 mph for the better part of 10 minutes. Afterward, I had to put back up several sections of my fence, and one third of may neighbors had to put new shingles on their roofs (they bought the cheap shit the first time). I expect to see 100+ mph a few more times assuming I live a normal life span. The house can take it. F5 tornadoes though are extremely fucking rare.

    I have another friend that had 5 feet of water on his first floor about 5 years ago. He is four or five orders of magnitude more likely to get flooded again than I am to suffer a tornado because he still lives in a fucking flood plain.

    I have no real sympathy for people that live in flood plains whether it is on the coast or along a river. If you stay there long enough, you will get flooded. So I don’t care if Sandy was big or small. New York was going to get flooded at some point, just like New Orleans was likely to get flooded. And they will both get flooded again, possibly in my lifetime.

    1. I have sympathy for people who are harmed in a natural disaster. I also think that people who live in places where such things are likely to happen shouldn’t be bailed out or subsidized because they should know that such things can happen and should be able to plan for them or move is they can’t deal with the risk.

    2. Except New York’s not actually in a floodplain. Outside of Staten Island, flooding never happens to the city. And it’s not like there’s vast amounts of resources used to kepp the floodwaters at bay like in NO, the area is simply remarkably dry considering how much water is near it.

      I’m sympathetic to the argument and have said it several times about the people that live in more flood-prone parts of the state (looking at you, Bound Brook), but it doesn’t apply here.

      1. Technically, a floodplain is the area of a river basin which is subject to flooding from stormwater flowing downstream. NYC is islands/low-lying coastal area and much more at risk of storm surges coming in from the Atlantic than from river flooding.

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