Newark weathers Sandy, narrowly avoids disaster
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
As Hurricane Sandy ripped up the East Coast last week, high winds and heavy rains left millions of people without power and caused severe damage in several states. Although Delaware was expected to be directly hit, Newark residents remained mostly unaffected by Sandy.
Christine Maiese, communications manager at the American Red Cross, said the organization in the Delmarva Region provided shelter to those who were mandatorily evacuated from the area. She said there were many people who had nowhere else to turn when the hurricane struck.
“We meet the immediate emergency needs that people that have been affected by a disaster need,” Maiese said. “Whether it’s a house fire and a family has lost everything or a large scale disaster like Hurricane Sandy, we’re there to provide emergency needs like shelter, food and clothing.”
According to Maiese, 25 shelters were opened during the peak of the storm throughout the entire state of Delaware, nine counties in Maryland and two counties in Virginia. She said the Red Cross was able to aid 1,878 people during the storm.
Maiese said seven shelters were open in Delaware, allowing 1,022 people to seek shelter who were either mandated by Gov. Jack Markell (D-Del.) to evacuate or whose houses were significantly damaged. She said the Red Cross prepares for different disasters by anticipating how many people are going to come and alerting their volunteers.
“Even though thankfully storms like Sandy don’t hit frequently, we’re ready for them because we know that they can,” Maiese said. “It’s not if a hurricane hits the Delmarva Peninsula, it’s when.”
MCpl. Gerald Bryda of the Newark Police Department said a week before Sandy hit, the department was briefing tropical storm models, most of which were expected to make landfall in the Mid-Atlantic region. He said the department evaluated areas that could potentially cause problems and set up an emergency operations center with representatives from various police departments, public works, fire and electric departments.
“We are all at the ready before, during and after the event for anything that may come up,” Bryda said.
With only a few reports of trees down, Bryda said Newark had no power outages, road closures or flooding. State officials made executive decisions, such as enforcing the driving ban, and the police department relayed the information to the public. Bryda said Newark residents were compliant and took warnings seriously.
The university strongly urged students to go home and canceled classes from last Monday to last Wednesday.
Junior Claire Davanzo said she took the university’s evacuation seriously and went to her friend’s house in Cochranville, Pa. She said she was expecting the storm to be worse than it turned out to be.
Davanzo said her friend’s family bought non-perishable food, charged all their electronic devices and got their flashlights ready for the storm that was predicted to knock out electricity for nearly a week. She said while the power in Cochranville did not go out, they would have been ready if it had.
Davanzo’s hometown of Morris County, N.J. is flooded and still without power. She said this has caused significant stress for her and her relatives.