Shelby: One year after Superstorm Sandy, communities in New York and New Jersey are still trying to recover. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t moving forward. I met up with some teens who are literally brightening neighborhoods impacted by the storm.
Marcos Diaz: A lot of people were stressed out – the people from the community, the students.
Shelby: Marcos Diaz remembers Superstorm Sandy like it was yesterday.
Marcos: Red Hook was greatly flooded all over. Like, you could swim.
Shelby: So your school was affected?
Marcos: It was. It was strange because the busses weren’t running properly and everything was just off about the neighborhood. All the stores were closed.
Shelby: Sandy’s destruction was caused by a rare and deadly collision of weather events; a blast of cold air from the North that slammed into a tropical storm from the South. The devastating effects were felt across the country. Tens of thousands of flights were grounded, schools were closed along the East Coast, and hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes. In total, the storm killed at least 182 people in the U.S. and caused an estimated $65 billion in damages.
President Obama: I think the public needs to prepare for the fact that this is going to take a long time for us to clean up.
Shelby: One year later, more than a quarter million people are still without homes.
Are you surprised at how long it is taking people to recover?
Marcos: Yeah. Never seen anything like that happen in Brooklyn before.
Shelby: Immediately after the storm struck, Marcos volunteered to pass out food and clothing to neighbors in need. Now he is lending a hand in a different way. He is brightening hard-hit neighborhoods along with other young artists from the area.
Marcos: It’s supposed to represent a wish, so to speak.
Shelby: Sponsored by a Brooklyn-based organization called Groundswell, the murals tell stories about each community’s experience with Sandy.
Mercy: I think art can be really healing for the person who’s painting and for the people that see it, especially when your painters are painting with intention. Like, when I’m painting, I’m thinking of hope and healing and rebuilding.
Jasper Kalb: It’s important to have this in our community because it helps us to remember, and how people helped out.
Shelby: In this design, a girl blowing a dandelion symbolizes the wish to rebuild. And hands represent the volunteers who came to help.
Mercy: Hands, giving, sharing, building, hands. It required a lot of teamwork and a lot of people volunteering and giving back. So I feel like that’s really important.
Shelby: So, big picture, what does this represent?
Marcos: Basically, the reconstruction after Sandy.
Mercy: If you forget, then you can’t grow. You know what I mean? And especially when harder things come up, we can look back and see that we came together. People really helped each other and it built a tighter community.
Shelby: To see more Superstorm Sandy art, head over to Channelone.com.
So, what are the chances we will see another Sandy-sized storm in the future? And are Americans prepared? We will explore those questions and more tomorrow.