UNDP remembers Sandy victims in the US and the Caribbean

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Local neighbors help government employees distribute UNDP’s aluminum roof to repair their houses. (UNDP in Cuba)

On the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy making landfall in the United States, UN officials are reminding the public not to forget the storm's less documented Caribbean victims.

Commemoration ceremonies were taking place around the northeast USA on Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, particularly in New York, where Hurricane Sandy caused over US$ 18 billion worth of damage to the city.

A recent editorial however, written by Heraldo Muñoz, Director of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, calls on New Yorkers not to forget that the US was indeed the last stop on Sandy's tour of destruction.

"Sandy, one of the largest Atlantic hurricanes on record, rumbled across The Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and other islands before finally reaching the eastern seaboard of the United States," said Heraldo Munoz in an online editorial.

One year on from the hurricane, UNDP says that recovery efforts from the storm are underway, but some UNDP officials say that the suffering of those in developing Caribbean nations may have been underplayed.

"Because of socio-economic vulnerabilities, people in developing countries are often less prepared for a large event and unfortunately are not as quick to bounce back or recover," says Jo Scheuer, UNDP Coordinator of Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery. He said "While the mainland US suffered greater losses in terms of total fatalities and the extent of damage, for the Caribbean nations, Cuba and Haiti in particular, the storm was comparatively more expensive – having a much more profound impact on local livelihoods and the GDP," adding that in Haiti, the storm intensified the humanitarian crisis caused by the 2010 earthquake.

Scheuer is quick to point out that efforts to help prepare Caribbean nations for disaster minimized the potential loss caused by the storm. "In Cuba, UNDP support to the government over the years has made that country particularly good at preventing deaths from hurricanes. Over the last 10 years, less Cubans die in the hurricane season than in any neighbouring states.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’58″

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