The Real Deal New York

How to survive a hurricane? Live in a rich nation

November 02, 2012 01:30PM

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Sandy hits the East River (credit: ZUMA Press)

What’s the best defense against violent weather? Living in a wealthy country, according to an opinion piece by Charles Kenny in Bloomberg Businessweek.

That’s because surviving — and recovering from — natural disasters is a pricey undertaking. Not only are infrastructural systems, such as sea walls and well-build structures, expensive, but so are food and medicine when prices rise as supply wanes.

Even though the storm only clipped the edge of the island of Haiti, Sandy killed a total of 52 people there, left 200,000 Haitians without homes and ravaged 70 percent of crops in the south of the island. Floodwaters remain across the country. “Haiti’s population is about half that of New York City’s metro area, yet even a glancing blow from Sandy carried a higher death toll in the Caribbean nation than did the direct hit on the Big Apple,” Kenny wrote.

As previously reported, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn have said that New York City has already done good work to accommodate for rising sea levels and climate change. Mayor Bloomberg has said it’s not necessary to invest in additional protective infrastructure, such as big bulkheads or offshore barrier reefs. [Bloomberg] — Zachary Kussin

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