UI students affected by Hurricane Sandy speak about storm’s impact


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Diana Navarrete wasn’t initially concerned when she heard about Hurricane Sandy.

But when the storm hit her home in New Jersey, it left her family without electricity for five days and disconnected from other family members.

“Many people didn’t take it that seriously,” said Navarrete, a former University of Iowa student who is currently living in New Jersey. “We thought it was going to be like Hurricane Irene. But it was really bad.”

Although Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast hundreds of miles away, a number of UI students have felt the effects of the storm locally.

According to the UI Office of Registrar, in the fall of 2011, 158 students from New York were enrolled at the UI.

UI sophomore Theo Coyne’s friends and family members felt the wrath of of the storm.

“All of my friends’ [apartment buildings] in Manhattan are all pretty much destroyed,” said Coyne, who is originally from New York. “I was concerned, but they all seem to do all right. But they knew this was coming, so they all were pretty well prepared. I’m just all they’re all OK.”

UI freshman Adam Jacobs, who is originally from Yorktown, was able to reach his parents after the storm, but could not contact his uncles and cousins in Long Island because of the loss of power.

“My parents are fine, and they tell me the rest of my family is fine,” he said. “[It’s important] to call them and make sure they’re OK.”

Officials say Hurricane Sandy was an unusual storm.

“Sandy was an interesting case,” a Des Moines meteorologist Jeff Johnson said. “It’s kind of a hybrid storm. You can compare it to Katrina’s strength. But it has weakened considerably.”

State climatologist Harry Hillaker said Iowa would not be affected by the storm.

“This one is much too far east to impact Iowa directly,” he said.

While Iowa will not feel any effects from the storm, some local groups have been collecting items to assist those affected.

“[Johnson County Republicans] have been collecting items and forwarding them to relief agencies,” said Bob Anderson, the head of the Johnson County Republicans.

However, some groups plan to take more action once the election has ended.

“It would take some organization to pull something together for Hurricane Sandy, and we just don’t have time right now,” said Terry Dahms, the head of Johnson County Democrats. “After the election, we’ll think about doing something for the victims of the hurricane.”

UI’s Global Health Studies Program will host its Fall 2012 Global Health Studies Workshop on Thursday and Friday. People who attend will be educated about natural-disaster concepts and new approaches to disasters.

In the meantime, Navarrete plans to prepare herself for any future disasters. When they went to stock up before the storm, many items were sold out.

“I wasn’t really prepared,” she said. “I had like two candles, and then I had to walk and find other candles. We’re going to have to buy lamps, a lot of batteries, and candles.”

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