Today marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy the superstorm that is responsible for causing over 182 deaths and $65 billion in damage in the United States. Known as the second-costliest weather disaster in American history behind only Katrina (according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the tragic effects of Sandy are far from being over as millions try to pick up the broken pieces of their lives and rebuild, especially the children impacted by the storm.
In light of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Save the Children is working hard to ensure that as a nation we will be prepared for the next disaster and have plans in place to protect not only ourselves but our most vulnerable citizens of all – our children.
The images of destruction and dispair as seen below in Save the Children’s video: Hurricane Sandy: One Year Later, only tell half the story. They tell about the physical destruction. But what about the psychological destruction that this devastating storm had on the minds of young children who lost their homes? We all remember being afraid of thunderstorms and lightening. But can you imagine the fear that remains after surviving a hurricane?
The following press release below by Save the Children argues that we have a long way to go to ensure we are prepared for our next disaster:
One Year After Sandy, Children’s Nightmares Continue
Save the Children Urges Stronger Disaster Protections for Kids
WESTPORT, Conn. (Oct. 23, 2013) – One year after Hurricane Sandy upended their lives, many children are still struggling with intense fears and stress brought on by the devastating storm and its aftermath, Save the Children said.
“Sandy was the most terrifying experience in the lives of thousands of children. But the day the storm struck was only the beginning of the upheaval and turmoil many children have experienced since,” said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children’s President & CEO.
“Children are still having nightmares and panicking when they hear the word storm. Others are depressed, acting out at school, or even causing themselves bodily harm as they struggle to cope,” she said.
As the nation’s leading child-focused emergency response organization, Save the Children has helped 500,000 children affected by U.S. disasters since Hurricane Katrina, including 40,000 children affected by Hurricane Sandy. The nonprofit’s Westport, Conn. headquarters were seriously damaged by the storm.
“Sandy has underscored what we already know–that children are the most vulnerable when disaster strikes. And yet, our nation continues to under-invest in protecting our kids,” Miles said.
Save the Children said mental health services are largely under-resourced or unequipped to meet the unique needs that large numbers of children are facing after Sandy. Additionally, hundreds of damaged child care centers across New York and New Jersey have struggled to rebuild and reopen just when children and their families need them most, the agency said. Most child care centers don’t qualify for federal recovery funding.
Save the Children is working to address gaps in both these areas, but said children’s needs remain great.
Putting children at even greater risk, the organization warned, investments are remarkably low in measures to protect children before disaster strikes. States have spent less than one tenth of 1 percent of federal disaster preparedness grants on children’s needs in recent years, Save the Children said.
Policies to protect children are also woefully inadequate. Save the Children’s recently released 2013 disaster report card reveals that most states still fail to meet four basic standards to protect children from disaster in schools and child care. New Jersey is one of only four states that took action this year to meet all four standards.
“Let’s hope it doesn’t take a disaster like Sandy to wake up the 28 states that still fail to adequately protect children,” Miles said.
Save the Children is calling on Americans to take action to protect children – by preparing their own families and by supporting improved policies. Downloadable family and caregiver emergency checklists are available through the organization’s Get Ready. Get Safe. initiative. Visitors can also find their state’s disaster report card results with an option to write their governor and a video showing Sandy’s impact on children.