WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 28, 2013) -- One year ago, Oct. 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy stormed ashore in Brigantine, N.J.

The storm carved a swath of destruction from Florida to Maine and its fury was felt as far inland as the Appalachian Mountains, and out to Michigan and Wisconsin.

The National Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers immediately pitched in with rescue and later recovery efforts.

"Although it took only a matter of hours for Hurricane Sandy to cause widespread damage throughout the region, recovering from the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history and improving coastal storm damage risk reduction will be a long and complex task," said Brig. Gen. Kent D. Savre, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Atlantic Division.

Savre's North Atlantic Division included the worst-hit areas along the coast, from New Jersey through New England.

Disaster response efforts and relief during Sandy were well executed, Savre said, because the corps was able to depend on lessons learned during previous hurricanes.

Once the threat was realized and before the hurricane came ashore, the corps went into action, standing up emergency operations centers, lowering water behind dams, issuing sandbags and pre-positioning drinking water and generators.

Once the storm came ashore, the corps unwatered 475 million gallons of salt water from New York City alone and installed generators in hospitals, police stations and other critical locations for first responders. The corps also assisted the Coast Guard in rebuilding battered port facilities.

Once the rescue and recovery work was completed, the corps entered the risk mitigation phase.

The corps' efforts were helped by Congress, which passed the 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act in January. Of the $60 billion provided for disaster relief agencies, the corps was given $5 billion.

As of this month, the corps is involved with some 200 projects and studies, from Florida to Maine, and inland to Ohio, but mostly in the North Atlantic Division. The work centers on river navigation, replacement sand for beach erosion and protection from storms in the form of levees, sea walls, and breakwaters.

Over the past year, the corps also partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies to produce maps which show the greatest risk for storm surge and damage. The maps will help local planners know where to rebuild and zone to mitigate future risk.

Savre reminded coast residents and others that the corps can do a lot but residents and local planners need to do their part as well.

"Please keep in mind that regardless of how many storm damage risk reduction features are put into place or how high, wide or strong they are constructed, there will always be residual risk," he said. "There is always the potential for an even bigger storm. We need your help to ensure residents fully understand the risk and plan accordingly."

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