Are Things Better One Year After Sandy?

By Charles Fisher and Randy Fisher @HHSYC

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October 31, 2013

Special thanks to Dr. Edward Williams, Executive Director/CEO Ready Rockaway, Inc.


Ready Rockaway Report

ReadyRockaway1On Friday, October 26, 2012 New York City began preparing for Hurricane Sandy and describing what necessary precautions that it will take as the storm nears the coast.  Hurricane Sandy was expected to approach the mid-Atlantic coast later that weekend, and was expected to make landfall sometime Monday, October 29, 2012. The Commissioner for the Department of Health, Deputy Mayor for Operations, Commissioner of the Fire Department and Commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management provided an update on the City’s ongoing preparations.  The Command Center at the Office of Emergency Management was activated and put into effect elements of the Coastal Storm Plan.  This designates Zone A, low line coastal areas of the city most at risk of flooding and other damages.  This area includes the Rockaways and Broad Channel.

On Saturday, October 27, 2012, at 1400 hours Response Relief and Recovery was developed in response to the prediction of Hurricane Sandy as a Category 1, a powerful storm forecasted for New York City.  The response by Ready Rockaway gave us the opportunity to galvanize and assemble an operational team to utilize and test certain limited capabilities both within Ready Rockaway’s Coalition and Community Teams.  Since this was a response, there was no pre-planning.  Activities found in the RR 2011-2012 cycle focused on planning.

RR believes that the 2011-2012 planning was sufficient to achieve Objective 1.

Objective 2-it was developed and conceptualized in 2010, never activated or tested, until Hurricane Sandy of 2012.

Objective 3-The three objectives that were effective throughout this action are listed separately below.

  • Objective A: Held bi-monthly meetings with Executive, Planning, and Community Teams. Provided disaster-related information using RR Social Media operation’s Facebook Web Page.
  • Objective B: Response Activation; RR’s Virtual Communication Operation; provided at a minimum communication capability that allows us to interface with Citywide Disaster Services.  The operation was also the catalyst for assembling RR and Community Teams (Rockaway Youth Task Force) to respond and assist with evacuation preparedness at two high-rise buildings.
  • Objective C: Relief operations were developed and activated after a community assessment was conducted post Sandy. The operation helped to meet the immediate needs of individuals and families. Recovery operations organized a mechanism for addressing the disaster- caused short and long term recovery needs of individuals and families post Sandy.

The primary areas for improvement, including recommendations are as follows:

One major challenge that we faced during the storm was the lack of power.  This single factor crippled RR’s internal capability to monitor and answer phones, or coordinate with individual coalition members, and network partners.

ReadyRockaway2RR and its coalition and network partners feel that our work could have been amplified if we were able to communicate amongst each other.  Recommendation–purchase enough portable radios to equip RR’s coalition and community teams and partners with interoperability capabilities.

Approximately 15,000-20,000 folks in Queens still have unmet needs due to Hurricane Sandy if not more.  It’s a disgrace that the lesson learned from Hurricane Katrina did not teach agencies and organizations how to truly help meet the unmet needs of all folks equally.

Support Information and Data

Homeowners          Unmet Needs       Community

11691     3,160               1,306                          Far Rockaway, Bayswater, Edgemere

11692     1,797                901                             Arverne , Sommerville

11693     2,281                961                             Broad Channel

11694     3,957               2,027                         Rockaway Park, Bell Harbor

11697     N/A                 1,552                           Breezy Point/ Rockaway Point

Column #1 =Total applicants with FEMA Verified Losses

Column #2 = Total application with Unmet Needs


11691     9,596               1,306                          Far Rockaway, Bayswater, Edgemere

11692     4,843                  901                          Arverne, Sommerville

11693     3,019                  961                           Broad Channel                                             

11694     4,765               2,207                         Rockaway Park, Bell Harbor

11697     N/A                 1,552                           Breezy Point/Rockaway Point

Column #1 = Total applicants with FEMA Verified Losses

Column #2 = Total applicants with Unmet Needs

Unmet Needs


Homeowner = a family and or individual who’s Sandy impact requires a Total Rebuild and or Major Repairs

Renter = a family and or individual renter that requires Major Repairs     

Personal Needs = Health and or Stress related, Financial, Loss of Jobs

Furniture = Couch, Table, Chairs, etc.

Appliances = Stove, Refrigerator, etc.


For information on Ready Rockaway, Sandy Relief Funds or to join our S-RAP initiative (Sandy Rebuilding Aid Project)–contact us at: