States Ask: Are We Prepared for a Storm Like Hurricane Sandy?

Nov 26, 2012, 1:28 PM

Last Friday Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey released an estimate of the economic losses caused by Superstorm Sandy— close to $30 billion. That estimate includes the devastating loss of homes and businesses for tens of thousands of individuals, damage to transportation and utilities infrastructure, and impact on local tourism. The economic consequences are critical, but the hurricane also posed a blow to the mental and physical health of many as well. Throughout the New York and New Jersey area, mobile health clinics remain in place, operated by the local and state health departments to help provide care for people displaced from their homes, neighborhoods and regular medical care.

Recovery continues. Today, for example, additional route sections of the PATH commuter rail service, which connects tens of thousands of New Jersey residents to their jobs in New York City, reopened.

And many states, even as they continue to send aid through funds and manpower to the affected areas, are trying to shore up their own communities against storms and other natural disasters yet to come. In an editorial this weekend, the Boston Globe asked whether the city of Boston will be able to respond and adapt quickly in the event of such a devastating storm. “The short answer is: Not yet, but there’s still time to get it right.”

Getting it right is the focus of the Public Health Preparedness Summit sponsored each year by key organizations including the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers, the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to be held in Atlanta March 13 to March 15.

Follow NewPublicHealth for stories on health department recovery and resilience efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

>>Read the Boston Globe editorial.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.