Hurricane Sandy death toll and causes

The New York Times yesterday had a story and graphic that identified the 97 people who perished in the New York/New Jersey region during Hurricane Sandy. It also listed their causes of death which I found very instructive. Here are the causes of death, listed in order of frequency:

Drowning – 37
Hit by falling tree – 19
Injuries from fall – 11
Carbon monoxide – 8
Fire – 5
Motor Vehicle Accident – 4
Hypothermia – 3
Medical – 3
Crushed by debris – 2
Electrocuted – 2
Bled to death – 2

Some comments: The drownings were mostly elderly individuals trapped in their homes when the water rose suddenly. The deaths from falling trees occurred in a variety of settings: some victims were out during the storm; others sitting in their homes when trees crashed through roofs; others from post-storm clean-up. I was really surprised by the number who died from falls. Almost all involved elderly individuals who had fallen down stairs in homes that were without electricity. The “medical” were folks on respirators that failed when power was lost. The carbon monoxide deaths resulted from running generators in basements or garages. The two who bled to death sustained serious cuts, one from a chain saw, the other while trying to turn off the gas in the home. The hypothermia deaths were elderly in homes with no heat.

All of these deaths were tragic, but the frequency of some of the causes – falls & hypothermia, for instance – were surprising and instructive of some of the risks not often considered.

One Response to Hurricane Sandy death toll and causes

  1. Dean says:

    My cousin in Queens said it best “It’s a whole new life” after Sandy hit the greater – New York area.