When Hurricane Sandy hit the American East Coast, widespread devastation affected many areas. The storm has been recorded as the second most destructive hurricane in recent history, which unleashed a barrage of rain, sea water flooding and 110mph winds. Damages incurred by the category one storm have reached $50 billion, with the collapse of public infrastructure and the destruction of private property. Because of this, many stranded residents in hurricane-affected areas were without food and water in the aftermath of Sandy.
These food shortages occurred because grocery stores had been damaged by the storm or the supply routes were disrupted, either because of road closures, debris or flooding. It has been reported that thousands of trucks delivering food to the tri-state area were in a state of uncertainty, where they were stranded at the roadside or stuck in warehouses. This resulted in the halting of food deliveries to many areas.
Long power outages also had an effect on food supply, with some areas out of power for ten days after the hurricane hit. Perishable items such as fruit and vegetables were affected by the lack of electricity, causing a shortage in quick-to-spoil products. These food shortages resulted in desperation from some of the storm-affected residents, particularly the elderly or families with children. In their hunger, some of these groups took to foraging in rubbish bins in order to feed themselves and their families.
As a way of providing some relief to those living on the eastern seaboard, some major food suppliers joined forces with Federal Emergency Management Agencies (FEMA) and Red Cross units. They provided food to these agencies in order to facilitate the distribution of emergency foodstuffs to particularly devastated areas like Brooklyn, New York City. Other food wholesalers deployed tractor-trailer loads of ready-to-eat meals to cope with cooking issues surrounding power outages and a lack of water and fuel. One supplier used company aircrafts and vehicles to transport emergency food to the overwhelmed areas, braving the floods to land at Teteboro Airport in New Jersey. In addition, further food suppliers have deployed fridges and generators in order to get supermarkets back on their feet. In working with the authorities, companies were able to access roads, albeit with a police escort.
It was not just humanitarian reasons as to why wholesalers were keen to replenish supermarket stock, however. A decrease in sales was inevitable as supply trucks were unable to deliver, shops were damaged and perishables spoiled. Nevertheless, it was through these financial motivations and the good-will of many food supplying companies that rapid relief was provided for those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
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Author – Adam has been writing articles for a number of years with great success