Reuters blog archive

from Full Focus:

Superstorm Sandy: Before and after

It's been one year since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the east coast. A look at before and after pictures of some of the hardest hit areas.

from Environment Forum:

Disasterology 2: hard questions for Breezy Point homeowners a year after Sandy

For survivors of Superstorm Sandy in the U.S. Northeast, the Sendai tsunami in Japan and the massive earthquake in Chengdu, China, the scars of disaster are still palpable. I’m part of a group of journalists brought together by the East-West Center in Hawaii to see how the people and environments hit by these catastrophes are faring, one year,  two years and five years later. We began our tour on Sept. 29. Here are the other posts in the series:

Breezy Point, Queens, New York:

from Environment Forum:

Disasterology: Storm warnings that work — a lesson from Sandy

For survivors of Superstorm Sandy in the U.S. Northeast, the Sendai tsunami in Japan and the massive earthquake in Chengdu, China, the scars of disaster are still palpable. I’m part of a group of journalists brought together by the East-West Center in Hawaii to see how the people and environments hit by these catastrophes are faring, one year,  two years and five years later. We began our tour on Sept. 29. Here are the other posts in the series:

Even big storm warnings must get personal if they're going to do any good. Few people know that better than Jason Tuell, director of the Eastern Region of the U.S. National Weather Service, which includes nearly all of the swath that last year's storm Sandy cut when it came ashore last October.

from Photographers' Blog:

Covering Sandy

Seaside Heights, New Jersey

By Steve Nesius

Hurricane Sandy hit the coast of New Jersey on a Monday. I shot many photos over the next week, but one image stands out. I saw the Seaside Heights roller coaster in the ocean during a helicopter ride. It was an odd scene, but only one small moment in miles of damage I photographed from the air. The following day, I photographed the roller coaster from beach level. I’ve since received calls and emails from strangers who have seen the published photo telling me how much the roller coaster was a part of their lives and why that scene is an iconic image of the damage to the Jersey shore. It’s a very surreal image to me as well, and not one I’ll soon forget.

I’ve lived by the ocean or Gulf most of my adult life, experiencing many hurricanes, always facing the dilemma of evacuating or riding it out. Fortunately, I’ve never dealt with the damage I saw from Sandy on the New Jersey coast. My heart goes out to all those affected by this super storm. I’m already back home but this story is far from over. Our colleagues continue to take incredible images and report compelling stories in communities still coping weeks after Sandy made landfall.

from Photographers' Blog:

Staten Island’s stories of Sandy

Staten Island, New York

By Mike Segar

As New York braced for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy three weeks ago, I was in California for a long-planned personal event. But I wasn’t about to miss what was shaping up to be a major story. I was determined to get back. I found a united flight to Detroit, Michigan, that was still listed as “on-time.” How far a drive would that be to New York? 10 hours? Through a hurricane?... I’ll take it, I thought. Seven hours later I was on the ground in Michigan driving through the night towards New York as winds howled and Sandy was coming ashore. I made it back to a region knocked to its knees by this storm.

The next seven days were a blur of finding and photographing those worst hit by the storm and hunting for gas for vehicles to keep going (not to mention returning home to a house without power, heat or hot water and without my wife and children who had evacuated to Massachusetts). Together Reuters photographers Lucas Jackson, Shannon Stapleton, Brendan McDermid, Keith Bedford, Adrees Latif, Andrew Kelly, Tom Mihalek, Carlo Alegri, Steve Nesius, Chip East, Adam Hunger and myself covered the immediate aftermath of Sandy in countless locations. We documented places and people affected by this massive natural disaster, one of the most destructive ever to hit the Northeast U.S. Our team made amazing pictures throughout and our collective photographic documentation of this disaster speaks for itself.

from Full Focus:

Surviving Sandy

Photographer Mike Segar went to Staten Island where almost everyone he met had homes destroyed by hurricane Sandy. He found they had compelling stories of loss or survival to tell. The resulting 19 portraits show people who were born and raised in stable, long term communities who are now surrounded by devastated remains of houses that held generations of families. Read Mike's personal account of the project here.

from Alison Frankel:

Can customers sue power companies for outages? Yes, but it’s hard to win

Scott Kreppein of Hagney, Quatela, Hargraves & Mari lives and works on Long Island, where about 90 percent of the customers of the Long Island Power Authority lost power in last week's storm. Kreppein still doesn't have electricity or heat at his house in Smithtown. Last week he got by on flashlights and a small gas-powered generator. Over the weekend, he and his wife fled to a hotel in Pennsylvania, and since they came back home, they've been living with relatives who have heat and light. Kreppein, in other words, has a personal interest in holding LIPA accountable for any failures in its restoration of power across Long Island.

But Kreppein also knows that the odds are very low of establishing LIPA's liability through a class action by disgruntled customers of the power company. In 2006, when he was working at Morelli Ratner, Kreppein represented several businesses in Queens, New York, that sued Consolidated Edison in state court for millions of dollars in damages that resulted from a week-long blackout in Astoria, Woodside and neighboring communities. According to Kreppein, there's nothing barring customers -- whether they're businesses or individual ratepayers -- from bringing such suits against power companies, even though utilities are state-regulated. To win, however, New York ratepayers have to show that their power company was not just slow or inefficient. Instead, Kreppein said, under a 1985 New York Court of Appeals ruling called Strauss v. Belle Realty, electric company customers must establish that the utility was grossly negligent -- that its conduct was way outside the bounds of reasonableness.

from Photographers' Blog:

When the floods come to your hometown

Hoboken, New Jersey

By Gary Hershorn

For thirty-four years I have been a photojournalist covering events the world over, but never have I had to live within a news event in my hometown. Too many times to count in my 28 years with Reuters, I have packed my bags and flown off to cover the news but never have I looked out my window and seen a story unfold before me. It is an indescribable feeling watching waters rage and rise in the street below, feeling as helpless as one can be.


It was a perfectly normal day in Hoboken, New Jersey. I was out and about knowing that forecasters were calling for Hurricane Sandy to come ashore somewhere between Cape May and New York late Monday night. By mid-afternoon I walked to a pier that juts out into the Hudson River to see if I could get some pictures of Lower Manhattan with gray clouds looming in the sky. I was fortunate to have some newlyweds walk out to the pier to have their wedding pictures taken using the New York skyline as a backdrop. The contrast of the white dress and the dark gray skies made for a nice photograph.

from MuniLand:

Will Congress privatize federal flood insurance?

This summer, as part of the Federal Transportation Act, Congress made legislative changes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program because it had borrowed $17 billion from the U.S. Treasury to pay off claims for flood damage from the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, and it was deeply insolvent. The editorial board of the Washington Post wrote:

In July, Congress reauthorized the program for five years and included reforms such as the gradual set-aside of a reserve fund, the phase-out of subsidized insurance for second homes and repeatedly flooded properties, a phased-in premium increase and $400 million in annual budget authority for flood-map modernization.

from Stories I’d like to see:

Keeping tabs on the Red Cross; Romney’s transition plans; Obama’s next book

Red Cross donations: Remember September 11

I hope we soon see a lot of coverage of how the Red Cross is using its Hurricane Sandy contributions.

For everyone from Mitt Romney to President Obama to the good-hearted people who raised $23 million through NBC’s telethon last Friday, the Red Cross has become the charity of choice for victims of Sandy – just as it was the default charity after 9/11. But if New York’s last mass disaster is any indication, how the Red Cross uses the money is worth a lot of reporters’ attention.