$60bn Hurricane Sandy loss and damage package hangs in balance

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says it is “disgusting” that East Coast areas of the USA affected by Superstorm Sandy are still waiting for an aid package from the federal government.

In a stinging attack on the US Congress’ failure to approve $60bn of disaster relief this week, Christie said representatives were more interested in “playing politics” than helping the victims of the disaster.

“In our hour of desperate need, we’ve been left waiting for help six times longer than the victims of Katrina with no end in sight,” said Christie. “Sixty-six days and counting, shame on you. Shame on Congress.”

The House is now expected to vote on a new aid package on January 15.

While scientists say it is currently impossible to link individual extreme weather events to climate change, they predict intense storms and droughts will become increasingly common if global temperatures continue to rise.

At the recent UN climate talks in Doha, parties agreed to discuss plans to create a loss and damage mechanism to aid countries affected by climate change, despite intense opposition from the US delegation.

Last year’s natural disaster racked up an estimated $160bn worth of damages, according to the world’s largest reinsurance firm Munich Re.

Hurricane Sandy was the single costliest event at $50bn in what was a fairly mild year for the insurance industry. Losses in 2011 were $400bn.

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