November 7, 2012
BY: NICOLA MACLEOD
Canadians are showing more financial support for victims of Hurricane Sandy in the United States rather than victims in the Caribbean.
The hurricane hit the Caribbean and Eastern United States last week, leaving disaster in its trail.
The storm first made landfall in Jamaica on October 24. It swept back out into the Caribbean Sea and intensified to a Category 2 Hurricane with extremely dangerous winds and mass damage before hitting Cuba.
Sandy hit New Jersey 5 days later after calming to a Category 1 Hurricane with calmer winds and less risk of damage.
In New York City, many people were forced to evacuate their homes due to storm surges and high winds that caused flooded streets and power outages.
Sandy left 18 people dead and 750,000 without power in New York. A week later, electricity has been restored to all but 90,000 residents.
The Red Cross has responded to the United States relief efforts by sending approximately 5,000 volunteers throughout ten states.
Damages to the Caribbean were more severe.
Seventy-one people were killed and 300,000 are without homes. 70 per cent of the area’s crops were destroyed, which will be problematic in a communities that rely on agriculture.
In Cuba, which has a mere population of 11 million compared to the USA’s 312 million, 200,000 houses were damaged and 15,000 homes were destroyed.
The Canadian Red Cross has set up two disaster relief funds. The Hurricane Sandy- US Fund has raised $921,000 while the Hurricane Sandy- Caribbean Fund has only raised $97,000.
“From our [The Red Cross’s) perspective, we help each other from society to society,” said Disaster Management Associate Emma Lavoie-Evans. “That mutual aid is very critical because of the personnel and the materials we can bring to one another.”
“There are a lot of people who have been affected and we are always running the risk of being hit by similar events,” said Lavoie-Evans.
Sandy Craft of Fredericton is the only person from New Brunswick aiding with the relief at this time. She left for the United States on Monday and was unable to be reached.
The Canadian Red Cross has not sent any volunteers to the Caribbean.
Sandy is the second most costly Atlantic Hurricane in recent years, surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The damage caused by Sandy in the United States may be as high as $20 billion with a total economic loss at $50 billion, says EQECAT, an American catastrophe modeling software company.
The damage caused by Katrina surpassed $81 billion.
Damage to the Caribbean has not been estimated.