University of Notre Dame | September 18, 2018
As Ed Striedl remembers it, the borough of Keansburg, New Jersey, tried to fortify against Hurricane Sandy. In the days and hours ahead of the storm, evacuation was encouraged. Locations on high ground were set aside for people to park cars. Shelters were put into place. And yet when the storm hit, destruction came in unlikely and devastating forms.
“We didn’t have the rain that we had the year before in Irene. So a lot of people got confident,” Striedl, a construction code enforcement officer and floodplain manager for Keansburg, recalls. People said to him, “Oh, you made me leave during Irene, and I didn’t have to. And now I’m going to stay because it’s not raining as much.”
But rain isn’t the only destructive factor in storms. As Keansburg experienced, storm surge, wind damage and destroyed dune systems wreaked havoc on the town. Half the structures in the borough saw between two and five feet of flooding. More than 300 homes were significantly damaged. Complete power outages lasted up to 14 days. And debris and flooding covered the seaside town for weeks after.
People fled, but in those moments when most people run away, that’s when Tracy Kijewski-Correa runs in.
Kijewski-Correa is a civil engineer and associate professor in both the College of Engineering and the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Her work in disaster risk reduction and international development has taken her from Haiti to Indonesia, Dhaka to Dubai. In most cases, in the wake of a disaster she’s running toward the damage, hoping to document it in detail.
Read more here.