Carter Courdriet, NJ

Staff Writer

“It was just unnerving. I saw pictures of people kayaking through towns I grew up in that are just gone now. It was like the whole world got turned upside-down.”

In the line of fire of the worst natural disaster to ever face the Garden State, Model United Nations delegate Aiden Byrnes from New Jersey and others were riveted by Hurricane Sandy. Ripping through the Eastern Time Zone last October, the superstorm caused over a billion dollars in damage and much of the East Coast, including the famous Jersey Shore, in shambles. In the midst of a devastated environment, many New Jerseyans were displaced and without power for days.

“I lost power for 16 days, and I moved out of my house for a week,” commented New Jersey delegate Matthew Bringuier, whose Cranford home is less than 15 miles from the shore and directly in the hurricane’s path. “I couldn’t get across town, and I had to wait in gas lines for hours. I was out of school for two weeks.”

The same scene was set across the region. 8 million households along the East Coast were without power, including 1.3 million from New Jersey, ranging anywhere from a day to an entire month. Many of the affected households still haven’t been restored from the superstorm’s effects. Gas prices skyrocketed as families sometimes waited hours to fill up their cars or containers for generators.

However, the most amazing aspect of the situation was how active residents of the Garden State and its neighbors have been in assisting their neighbors. Even when their own houses were flooded or powerless, many Youth and Government delegates and other youths came together to help those whose houses and properties had been demolished.

“Coming from a place where I had never faced real adversity, it was actually rewarding going through the storm to watch a community come together and epitomize what it means to be ‘Jersey Strong,’” reflected Bringuier.

With the help of governmental aid and assistance from non-profit organizations like Restore the Shore, New Jersey and its Mid-Atlantic counterparts continue to beat the storm and emerge greater than before