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Today the House passed one portion of the disaster relief bill that will send 17 billion dollars to communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, the superstorm that pounded the Atlantic seaboard in late October 2012. Given the still-simmering controversy over how much funding the bill deserves,  and how many of the affected are still struggling, it's helpful to quantify Sandy's damage — particularly in the destruction of shorelines.

For example: consider the massive amount of coastal erosion the hurricane occasioned in the course of destroying miles of boardwalks, damaging thousands of homes, and ruining billions of dollars worth of property. NBC New York calculated that the amount of sand displaced — 15 million cubic yards — would fill more than a million dump trucks. Even that tally is far short of the actual total; the 15 million cubic yards of sand only account for beaches studied by the Army Corps of Engineers, which will likely receive more than $3 billion from the aforementioned Sandy bill to repair affected coasts under its jurisdiction.

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