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Report: Health Effects of Hurricane Sandy Still Linger

Hurricanes hurt—a lot—for a long time after they pass...
August 6, 2015

Hurricanes hurt—a lot—for a long time after they pass. That's the gist of a new report that shows how the effects of Hurricane Sandy still linger three years later, in the form of heightened anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in New Jersey.

"We're definitely still hearing about the issues and the problems," said David Abramson, a New York University researcher who led the Sandy Child and Family Health Study.

The Sandy research project was modeled on a similar one in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. Abramson, who led that work, said Katrina was a more devastating storm in poorer states. However, researchers saw similar levels of emotional distress long after the skies cleared. He said people without good social support were most likely to suffer. Researchers said emotional problems take a backseat soon after a disaster as everyone focuses on immediate physical needs. Yet federal crisis counseling programs typically end after 18 months, too soon to catch all the problems that may develop.

"I don't know if you ever get over it," said PIA National President Richie Clements earlier this year, as he showed a reporter the devastation still lingering in New Orleans 10 years after Katrina. "I don't know if you should."