- Posted December 15, 2013 by
Saugerties, New York
Sandy, Over A Year Later
Hurricane Sandy happened more than a year ago, but the aftermath of the storm has greatly effected people’s lives. Some people were left homeless, some suffered severe property damage, and communities were left permanently changed. A storm the size of Sandy, that causes such extensive damage, comes with a large sum of complications that can take a lot of time and effort to deal with. For my parents, a little cottage that they are the landlord’s of, had to be completely renovated.
Their cottage lies on Lighthouse Drive, along the Esopus Creek in Saugerties, New York. The fellow who was renting it out lost most of his possessions and was left homeless after the cottage was submerged in water. He and his dogs and few surviving possessions had to find another place to live, as the cottage was left unlivable after the storm.
In the months following the storm, my parents had to clean out the entire house, and strip out any parts of the building with wanter damage, which was the entire lower half of the house. Their neighbor’s pile of wood had floated and landed sprawled across the lawn, along with other bits of trash and branches. All of that had to be removed as well.
After completing the task of cleaning the property up, they had to renovate the cottage. The accumulation of property damage along with the loss of a renter, cost them a large sum of money. There was $25,000 of damage to the house and fortunately the flood insurance covered most of it. However, they also had to take time off of work to deal with the mess.
Throughout the past year, my parents poured their time and money into the house to get it back to living conditions. In an effort to save money, they did the renovations mainly by themselves with a little help from two hired construction workers. I even took time in-between work and school to lend a hand. Some family members came to help us out as well. One of the many things that we discovered from Sandy, was that those who love you will help you when you need them the most.
My parents wound up doing a lot of mitigation on the house, which was basically remodeling the house in such a way so that if it were to flood again, not not as many renovations would have to be done. All of the flooring has been changed so that if it floods, it will not need to be redone. All the wiring has been raised up, as well as the washer and dryer. They replaced the bathtub with a standing shower which does not have insulation behind it. They will still have to raise the entire house up about a foot and a half.
FEMA has said that the insurance in the area will absolutely go up, and the flood maps have been changed to reflect Sandy. Essentially, if the shore is below 100 year flood line, your insurance goes way up. If it is about at that line, it will only slightly go up. If you are about 3 feet above flood line, insurance can even go down. Some houses along the block are two or three feet below the flood line, which will be a costly issue for those homeowners.
The look of the neighborhood had changed as well as the attitude of those who live there. On Lighthouse Drive, property values will likely go down, and people have been and will have to spend more money on their homes. Some people have put their houses up for sale, because they cannot afford all of the expenses. The US Coast Guard, who are next door to the cottage, have demolished their on site housing. The people on the other side of the cottage, have given up entirely on their lawn, and have replaced it with a cement patio. Generally, everyone is much more wary, but people generally seem better equipped for the next storm now that they know what to expect.
There is still much more than insurance and property costs to be figured out in the aftermath of Sandy. The decisions that will be made near New York City, will effect those who live near the river upstate. In the New York area, we are fairly behind the times with our flood prevention. In Holland, which is below sea level, they have been successfully using floodgates for about 100 years. The subject of putting a floodgate from Sandy Hook to Cony Island has become a very hotly debated political topic. A proposed floodgate protecting the New York Harbor would cost an astounding $30 billion dollars. However, the damage caused by Sandy, was around $50 billion.
We have come a long way since Sandy. People’s lives are generally back to normal, but there is still much to be done. Sandy has caused permeant damage, but also opened discussion for how to improve the way in which we live and prepare against future disasters. It has certainly been a learning lesson for people, one that is far from being over.