Hurricane Sandy mortality – US northeastern states, october–november 2012
Background. Hurricane Sandy made landfall across the northeastern U.S. coastline on October 29, 2012, causing widespread destruction and flooding, billions of dollars in damages and claiming many lives. While no official statistics were yet available, we described Sandy fatalities captured by American Red Cross for their condolence services. Methods. We characterized deaths captured by Red Cross during OctoberNovember, 2012, including the data source, decedents' demographics, and their location, timing, and circumstance of death. We further described the characteristics of drowning deaths and examined the location of these deaths with respect to geographical zones of flooding and mandatory evacuation. Results. Red Cross captured 116 deaths; the Medical Examiner/Coroner was the data source for 80%. Majority were male (60%), older adults (median age 65 years old), and white (54%).Three-quarters (74%) died in New York or New Jersey, and nearly half (46%) died between October 2930. The most common cause of death was drowning (33.6%). Half (51%) of the drowning deaths occurred in the home, and one-quarter (25.6%) described the decedent as unable or unwilling to leave their home. Fourteen (36%) drowning deaths occurred in homes in flooded areas that were also within New York City's mandatory evacuation zone. Conclusions. Drowning is a leading cause of hurricane deaths, and was the leading cause of death for Sandy fatalities captured by Red Cross. Hurricane-related drowning deaths are preventable with advanced warning systems and evacuation plans. Further research should explore improving the effectiveness of and reducing barriers to evacuation in preparation of a hurricane.
Describe the incidence and characteristics of mortality associated with Hurricane Sandy in October and November, 2012.
Keyword(s): Disasters, Mortality
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal of this study. I led a team in New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy for shelter morbidity surveillance, and have been working with the Red Cross in the follow-up assessment of morbidity and mortality during Sandy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.