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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Hurricane Sandy worries East Coast students concerned over friends and family

Susan Stocker
Hurricane Sandy storm surge related flooding remains along the coast in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Monday, October 29, 2012. Work crews continue to push sand off the roadway. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/MCT)

With flooding, power outages and a rising death toll across the East Coast, some UA students share worries for family members in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Melissa Turner, a history and pre-law junior, heard about the hurricane from her mother, who said her grandparents were told to evacuate their home in Surf City, N.J. two days ago.

Now, their house is underwater.

“It’s weird because here we live in paradise and it’s sunny year-round, and all of a sudden I’m on the phone with my mom and my grandparents’ house is underwater,” she said. “It’s surreal.”

Turner said her grandfather built the house with his own hands and that since their evacuation, they have had to take up temporary residence with Turner’s parents in Blue Bell, Pa.

In Blue Bell, Turner said her family made sure to buy supplies and food and to fill their bathtubs with water in case the water stopped running, which it now has.

“We don’t have any electricity or running water right now,” Turner said. “My mom says it looks like this weird post-apocalyptic war zone. It just is completely devastating.”

Brian Wynn, an undeclared freshman from Baltimore, said he heard about the hurricane on the news, but didn’t think much about it until his mom called. She told Wynn that extreme winds were blowing at between 70-90 mph and rain was falling at a rate of about one or two inches per hour.

Wynn’s family owns a house in Ocean City, Md., where about half the city was underwater, he said. His parents found out yesterday that the hurricane was not strong enough to breach the sand dunes and cause flooding in their home. However, according to his family, streets around the area were flooded and under about 10 feet of water at one point.

Wynn’s main concern for his family right now is the possibility that they might lose power.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of different things about power outages,” Wynn said. “There’s been power outages for millions of people and I’ve been hearing that some might not be restored until a month from now.”

Due to the outages, Turner could not contact her family for a short period of time because their cellphones died. Turner said her mom warned her about this happening, but she wanted to make sure they were safe and taken care of.

“It’s just unfortunate that I’m so far away,” Turner said. “It’s a good thing so I don’t have to be in Hurricane Sandy, but it just sucks I can’t be with my family right now.”

Turner said that her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, has been getting in touch with the Red Cross about donations and is hosting a blood drive in the next couple of weeks, which they hope will help. Sorority members are trying to figure out ways to raise money and get supplies out there, she added.

“We all need to be cognizant and aware and look out for each other, because it’s important, as students, to understand the impact these natural disasters have,” Turner said. “Not just on those areas, but like me, a family member of someone who’s countless of miles away. It still has an impact on us.”

Keith Humphrey, the dean of students and assistant vice president of Student Affairs, said no major student issues with Hurricane Sandy have been reported, but added that the Coordinators of Student Assistance and Counseling and Psychological Services are available for students worried about family members.

Humphrey also said that although there have been no reports thus far, this might change once East Coast students return home for Thanksgiving break.

“It’s likely they’re going to see where they grew up look very different based on how the hurricane has destroyed some aspects of town, some landmarks,” Humphrey said in an email. “If folks live in those really affected areas, they might need some additional assistance when they get back and we’re ready to provide it.”

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