Photo Credit: Long Island Report
It is a terrible feeling to know a disaster is happening around you and you can do nothing to stop it. It is an even worse feeling to watch that disaster transpire from your window. That is how I felt during the devastation of Hurricane Sandy that hit the East Coast last week. As I sat in the comfort of my dorm located on Long Island, New York my heart ached knowing that others just outside of my school’s boundaries were struggling for their lives.
Hofstra University was like a giant safety bubble amidst an island of destruction. Ninety percent of homes and businesses on Long Island lost power during the storm. LIPA, the Long Island Power Authority, predicted it would take up to 10 days for power to be restored. Hofstra had my power back within the hour of it being lost and even my wi-fi was back up a short time after.
I was concerned the rain that might seep through my windows due to the winds that reached 80 miles per hour. In retrospect, almost every house outside of campus faced water damage. Fifteen houses were reported as having been completely swept out to sea and over 100 were destroyed from fire.
I’ve never felt so helpless being in my protective haven on the same island where others were battling flooding, electrical fires, and falling trees. It felt like Hurricane Sandy was New York’s Hurricane Katrina. Fifty-five were reported dead after the storm hit, four of which died on Long Island. It’s numbing to think that if I had been just a few miles away that could have been me.
The concerns I overheard from fellow classmates or read on their social media streams proved to me how disconnected Hofstra was from the effects of the storm. Many complained about their boredom because Hofstra officials asked them to remain in their dorms. Others voiced disappointment at the lack of entertainment they thought the storm would provide. I even found myself starting to complain, but quickly stopped when I realized how many others were questioning when they might have a warm bed to sleep in.
Hurricane Sandy may not have destroyed my home, but the impact it left on my campus and my school “family” was hard to endure. As Hofstra finished the clean up, classes will once again resume and the storm will become a sad memory. But for many on Long Island outside of Hofstra’s gates, the storm is more than a memory; it’s a forced new beginning. Whether some must find a new home to live in, a new car to drive, or a new way to cope with the loss of a loved one, their lives will forever be changed.