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Andrew Cuomo: Sandy Worse Than Katrina. Umm . . . Nope

Governor Andrew Cuomo said yesterday that the hurricane that ripped through the Northeast last month was worse than Hurricane Katrina, the devastating storm that destroyed New Orleans in 2005.

"Hurricane Katrina, in many ways, was not as impactful as Hurricane Sandy, believe it or not," Cuomo said. "Because of the density of New York, the number of people affected, the number of properties affected was much larger in Hurricane Sandy than Hurricane Katrina. This puts the entire conversation, I believe, into focus. . . . Now Katrina had a human toll that thankfully we have not paid in this region."

It's that last part that should put the "entire conversation . . . into focus."

Hurricane Katrina killed 1,866 people. Just over 100 people died as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

As the governor points out, more people -- and their property -- might have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. But the human toll doesn't compare. The property lost or damaged is just stuff, and while it's unfortunate and -- in some cases -- life changing that it's gone, it's still just that: stuff. It can be replaced.

For the vast majority of New Yorkers -- with the exception, of course, of those in the Rockaways, Staten Island, and other areas that got the worst of the storm -- Hurricane Sandy was an inconvenience. The power went out for a few days. We waited in line for gas. But we were alive to do it -- and to help those for whom the storm was more than just an inconvenience.

According to the governor's office, about 305,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy. That's compared with 214,700 homes damaged or destroyed during Katrina. The number of businesses affected by Sandy is about 265,300, compared to 18,700 in Louisiana. Thanks to Sandy, there were 2.19 million power outages. There were only about 800,000 during Katrina.

The numbers that matter most, however, are 1,866 to roughly 100.

Sure, Sandy may have impacted more people than Hurricane Katrina, but the degree to which they were impacted doesn't even compare.


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