Locust Walk Talk: Hurricane Sandy

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

I had planned to share with you a story about a trip to Boston for the Penn To You event, Taking a Personal Approach to Cancer: Penn Medicine’s Leading-Edge Discoveries And What it Could Mean for You and Your Family. The discussion would have showcased The Perelman School of Medicine and featured numerous distinguished faculty. This research was featured in the The New York Times this week if you are interested in learning more.  However ,we had to cancel the program due to the impending arrival of the now-called Superstorm Sandy.

As we are in the middle of the holiday season, I’d like to remind you that there are still many affected by the storm’s aftermath and here are some stories which highlight what Penn and Penn alumni have done to disseminate the reality of the destruction and the means to improve the situation.

The immense size of Hurricane Sandy, feature the cold front heading toward the storm (picture courtesy of Wikipedia).

The immense size of Hurricane Sandy, feature the cold front heading toward the storm (picture courtesy of Wikipedia).

However, I was pleased to see that Penn was covering the storm closely and giving updates and commentary throughout and after the crisis.

In Sandy’s Costly Aftermath from the Knowledge@Wharton site, Howard Kunreuther, co-director of Wharton’s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, uses one word to describe Sandy, “horrendous.”  He continues, saying that “it’s the worst of the century because of a combination of factors – its incredible reach along the East coast, its incredible damage to New York City and Long Island and the incredible amount of flooding along the New Jersey coast, including Atlantic City.” Talking about the financial impact of the storm along, Kunreuther has heard that cost of the story could reach as high as $50 billion citing that risk of business interruption could be very severe if it takes a long time for some companies to start functioning again and would likely lead to this gigantic price tag.

From Penn’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy’s blog entry, Hurricane Sandy: How Can I Help?, one learns that  the best help would-be philanthropists can provide is cash donations to first responder nonprofits, not product donations.  The simple reason is that cash allows these nonprofits to get what is needed faster and more cost-effectively and to respond flexibly as needs change.

Lastly, from Penn News’ Helping Those Impacted by Hurricane Sandy, the University acknowledges that many of our neighbors in New Jersey and New York continue to struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. To assist,  the University of Pennsylvania’s faculty, staff, and students have undertaken a number of efforts to support the victims of this terrible natural disaster. That means there are several organizations actively supporting those whose lives have been upended by the storm and are accepting donations from those who want to help, including The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and The Robin Hood Relief Fund.

In this season of giving, I urge you to remember those who could use a little more help this year.


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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Casey R., Locust Walk Talk

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