United States: Post-Tropical Storm Sandy - Information Bulletin n° 1

Situation Report
Originally published
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This bulletin is being issued for information and reflects the current situation and details available at this time.

Given the massive scope of Post-Tropical Storm Sandy, the American Red Cross is mobilizing a significant fundraising response and welcomes Red Cross and Red Crescent partners to engage with donors in their country and accept funds for emergency response. Details on transferring funds from National Societies to the American Red Cross will be provided in the coming days.

The situation

Prior to hitting the United States, Hurricane Sandy had a severe impact in the Caribbean. In Cuba, approximately 15,000 homes were destroyed and 75,000 people were left homeless and are living with relatives or in communal shelters. An additional 43,000 homes were damaged and 80 per cent of water systems impacted. In Jamaica, 1,500 families were affected, and 40-60 per cent of houses have roof damage and all crops affected in the hardest hit areas in the north/north west. In the Dominican Republic, 17,530 persons have been displaced, 580 persons housed in official shelters, 3,506 houses were flooded, 56 houses were severely damaged, and 7 houses were destroyed. In the Bahamas, damage knocked out power lines and created a pile-up of debris, and there was significant loss of livelihoods with crops and fishermen affected. In Haiti, up to 17,187 people were evacuated to 118 emergency shelters including those living in 12 highly vulnerable camps. Some 5,981 families were affected (roughly 29,900 people). In addition 1,811 houses were flooded, 2,089 damaged and 1,885 destroyed.

Post-Tropical Storm Sandy lashed the densely populated east coast of the United States on Monday 29 October, shutting down transportation, forcing evacuations in flood-prone areas, and threatening basic infrastructure. Fierce winds and flooding hit hundreds of miles of Atlantic coastline and heavy snows were forecast farther inland at higher elevations as the centre of the storm moved ashore along the coast of southern New Jersey on Monday evening.

Reports indicate that the immediate death toll was 18 lives lost, bringing the total number of deaths to at least 84 after the storm wreaked havoc in the Caribbean. U.S. stock markets were closed for the first time since the attacks of 11 September 2001, and remained shut on Tuesday, 30 October. The federal government in Washington was closed and schools were shut along the affected eastern seaboard. Initial damage assessments throughout Tuesday indicated widespread destruction with electrical fires and record power outages adding to the misery of devastating flooding in the northeast.