It’s been one year since Hurricane Sandy battered the U.S. eastern coast, leaving lower Manhattan a dark, flooded wasteland, in addition to uprooting countless residents, inflicting billions of dollars in damage, and killing around 117 people in the U.S.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made the rounds on the morning shows to discuss the lingering effects of Sandy and the status of recovery efforts in his state, in which tens of thousands of residents are still displaced. Though Christie appeared encouraged by the progress New Jersey has made in assisting almost 30,000 affected residents, the morning news anchors were more skeptical of the recovery effort, grilling Christie on whether more can be done.
On CBS This Morning, Christie told Charlie Rose, “I think we’ve made tremendous progress in the last year,” noting the thousands of people back in their homes and boardwalks rebuilt, “but I also know that we still have a lot more work to do. … My mission is to get all those people back in their homes.” Rose pressed him on the issue of the nearly 26,000 residents who are still homeless. Christie blamed the slow-moving federal government, saying that it took 92 days to dispense aid.
Christie sang a similar tune of high spirits regarding the recovery and holding the federal government accountable on his interview with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America. “I’ve been really honest with the people of New Jersey and told them exactly that,” he said. “I’ll do this job as long and aggressively as I can and my current intention is to spend four years, but we’ll see what happens.”
On the Today show, Christie spoke of his most enduring memory post-Sandy: “Seeing a crying, scared 9-year-old child, like my 9-year old daughter, at the time was incredibly emotional and to this day was very evocative to me … because it’s representative of all the children who felt so displaced after Sandy.” Christie also told host Matt Lauer that he won’t rest until all displaced N.J. residents are back at home, and continued to blame the federal government. Lauer asked Christie who is to blame as Christie had criticized his own Republican Party, once pointing fingers at House Speaker John Boehner, saying, “They used the citizens of this country like pawns on a chess board.” A year later, Christie thinks a compromise between the parties is essential, “I think both parties have to get to work.”
Lauer also visited one of the hardest-hit communities, Belle Harbor, Queens, heading to the destroyed local watering hole, the Belle Harbor Pub, and remembered the devastation with resident Hannah Sweeney, 77: “It’s like a war zone,” she said. Pending funds, she’s determined to rebuild. He also visited Breezy Point, Queens, in which more than 100 homes were burned to the ground and insurance barriers prevent many from building anew again.
One of the most tragic stories to come from the post-Sandy fallout was that of four siblings who lost their parents during the storm when their car crashed into a tree. The eldest daughter, Zoe, a Rutgers University sophomore, is now her siblings’ legal guardian, while neighbors deliver daily meals. The children appeared on the Today show to thank their community and first responders. “Without our family friends and our neighbors, there’s really no way we would have survived the year,” she said, “it just proves how good people are.”
The Today show also addressed the Sandy baby-making boom. The New York Times reported that New York hospitals were “bracing for an increase in births during the last weeks of July and early August,” about nine months after the hurricane.
And their five littlest guests: