While not nearly biblical in scale (and one must be thankful for that), superstorm Hurricane Sandy has nonetheless taken its toll, lashing the Eastern Seaboard of the United States with 90 miles an hour winds, heavy rain and snowfall and possibly the worst natural disaster to his since 2004’s Hurricane Katrina. Having stormed through the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy soon made its way to the Eastern seaboard, inundating Massachusetts, Connecticut Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and projected to travel further inland by the end of the week.
Of course in the wake of any natural disaster there is always a cost, both in terms of human lives and infrastructure. So far the Hurricane has claimed the lives of nearly a hundred people and according to figures, affected around 50 to 60 million people and according to analysts the damage that the Hurricane has inflicted may stand anywhere between $10 to $20 billion.
the figure comes from disaster risk modelling firm Eqecat which besides citing the numerous instances of structural and infrastructural damage, such as the New York subway system in Lower Manhattan being flooded, the firm has included the financial damage as well as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq exchanges were forced to close for two days, the longest period since September 11. In addition to this, thousands of businesses, including the gambling industry of Atlantic city also closed down. Public transportation has also taken quite a heavy hit as its is estimated some 14,000 flights were cancelled in addition to Amtrak halting service on the East Coast. Analysts have also said that the Hurricane could also possibly reduce US output by one tenth during the present quarter.
Rob Lillpopp, a spokesperson for the Business Council of New York State said, “It will be days before we can know the full extent of the damage left behind by Hurricane Sandy in New York City and the rest of the state. We are just a year removed from Hurricane Irene, and what we learned from that devastating storm is that small and large businesses can and will pull together to recover."
Power outages have also reached alarming levels, as some 6 million homes are reported to be without power with John Miksad, Power Company, Consolidated Edison's senior vice president for electric operations saying, "This is the largest storm-related outage in our history."
However while there has been inordinate damage, analysts are saying that reconstruction efforts most often lead to even more money being generated, with economist and professor at the University of Maryland, Peter Morici saying that if there is indeed a $10 to $20 billion cost, it will in turn create almost $35 billion in rebuilding efforts.