By ASA(CW) OfficeApril 25, 2013
On December 7, 2012 President Obama signed an executive ordercreating the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force to "…ensure that the Federal Government continues to provide appropriate resources to support affected State, local, and tribal communities to improve the region's resilience, health, and prosperity by building for the future."
The Task Force builds on lessons learned during previous disasters, where experience has shown that planning for long term rebuilding must begin even as the response is ongoing. Working within the National Disaster Recovery Framework the task force will work with federal, state, and local officials as well as the private sector, non-profit, community, and philanthropic organizations involvement to promote recovery in a unified and coordinated manner. President Obama appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovanas chair of the task force, which was officially launched on February 5.
The Task Force includes representatives from virtually the entire cabinet and has five major responsibilities:
•Work with all stakeholders in the region to deliver a comprehensive regional rebuilding plan within six months. This will be a locally driven plan that will ensure the region emerges stronger, more resilient and more economically competitive.
•Cut red tape and reduce regulatory burdens
•Manage the flow of federal recovery funds from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.
•Monitor progress and provide oversight to eliminate waste.
•Provide communities with technical assistance and tools to help them realize their vision for redevelopment and revitalization.
In her capacity as the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), Jo-Ellen Darcy is an active member of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.
HURRICANE SANDY RESPONSE BY THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS
On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy was centered 285 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and moving north with sustained winds of 85 mph, a category 1 hurricane. The forecast had the center of Hurricane Sandy coming to shore at Ocean City, New Jersey. Peak wind for the National Capitol Region was projected to reach 74 mph. Along with wind damage, Sandy was expected to cause dangerous rip currents, beach erosion, minor coastal flooding, with an increase in inland flooding potential, and power outages. Highest threat of storm surge was expected from 6 to 11 feet in Long Island Sound, Raritan Bay, and New York Harbor. Highest rain projections were predicted in the Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia Peninsula with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches. Hurricane force winds would affect Mid-Atlantic States, and New York City and Long Island. Gale to tropical storm force winds would affect most of the northeast. Six Corps divisions and districts' Emergency Operation Centers were activated and teams were moved into place.
Hurricane Sandy traveled along the Atlantic coast impacting the entire area from coastal North Carolina to Massachusetts. Described as a "superstorm," Sandy brought over 80 mph winds and surges up to 13.7 feet. Flood damages in the area were to public infrastructure, flooding subways and wastewater treatment plants, causing extensive power outages, affecting mass transits systems, and affecting public housing and private residences. Existing Corps projects helped to mitigate some of the flood damages to the residents.
During Hurricane Sandy, the Corps responded to missions assigned by FEMA, and provided 1,039 highly trained technical personnel and the 249th Prime Power Battalion in 13 states. The Corps response to Hurricane Sandy included 68 FEMA mission assignments for over $351.6 million in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. These missions included; ESF#3 Management support for each state, Technical Assistance, Temporary Housing, Commodities (bottled water delivery), Temporary Power, and Debris Management and removal. The Corps worked closely with the USCG to determine threats to navigation and navigation closures, and the affected ports cleared and returned to operation.
The type of support from the federal government was unprecedented, and the Corps provided technical assistance and response to federal, state, and local entities. This included removing 475 million gallons of water from 14 areas identified by local entities, to include the New York City (NYC) subway systems and tunnels, the Passaic Wastewater Treatment Plant, and restoring operation to the Hoboken terminal. These efforts were successful due to a dedicated and determined team including the Corps, the Navy, the USCG, the DOT, NYC Transit System, and many others.
As of March 1, 2013, completed Corps response efforts also included:
• Completion of 567 power assessments, and installation of 211 generators. At peak, the Corps generated 55MW of power, enough to support the needs of 55,000 families.
• Operation of 162 pumps to un-water 14 strategic sites, resulting in removal of over 475M gallons, equivalent to 720 Olympic size pools
• Delivery of 512 truckloads of water to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia
• Completion of coastal restoration missions: Cupsogue County Park, New York; Smith Point, New Jersey, Mantoloking Breach, New Jersey.
• Refurbishing of 115 transitional housing units
• Delivery of Infrastructure Systems Mission Scoping Assessments per its role as defined under the National Disaster Recovery Framework.
Ongoing activities include:
• In New York City, 693,855 CY of an estimated 1.3M CY of debris has been removed by long haul in accordance with ongoing missions assigned to the Corps.
• On Fire Island, 1,765 of the 1784 received Property Debris Removal (PPDR) assessments have been completed.
• Coordination of Infrastructure Systems elements of the Recovery Support Strategies per its role under the National Disaster Recovery Framework.