Wednesday, 31 October 2012

At the airport, he Sandy Leaves Devastation, Deaths in Eastern U.S.

At the airport, he Sandy Leaves Devastation, Deaths in Eastern U.S.
Clean Media Correspondent

Newyork, Oct 31 (CMC) Millions of people in the Northeast U.S., the region most dependent on electric grids and mass transit networks for everyday life, struggled to find normalcy amid the floods, destruction and death from superstorm Sandy.

The biggest Atlantic storm in history, spanning an area broader than Texas, caused at least 50 U.S. deaths, according to the Associated Press, including 18 in New York City that Mayor Michael Bloomberg reported. Many government offices and U.S. stock markets, which shut for two days, planned to open today, with the exception of New Jersey government. Millions remained without power.

“Sandy hit us very hard, it was a storm of historic intensity, but New Yorkers are resilient and we’ve seen an outpouring of support,” the mayor said at a news briefing yesterday. “We have a plan for recovery, and that recovery is already beginning. It’s the beginning of a process that we all know will take a while.”

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit New Jersey today to tour what Governor Chris Christie described as “absolute devastation,” such as seaside towns with houses ripped from their foundations. Bloomberg said he declined an offer from the president to visit the city.

“What I pointed out to him is that we’d love to have him, but we have lots of things to do,” Bloomberg said. The president declared New York and New Jersey disaster regions eligible for federal relief.

Election Interruptus
The storm that interrupted the U.S. presidential race eight days before Election Day weakened as it churned northwest across Pennsylvania. Its center was about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east-northeast of Pittsburgh, with sustained winds of 40 miles (64 kilometers) per hour, at 11 p.m. New York time yesterday, according to the U.S. Hydrometeorological Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

Forecasters said Sandy would turn north across western New York or Lake Erie and continue into Canada today.

From Washington to Boston, officials of state and local governments, transit systems and businesses joined homeowners in assessing damage and arranging for recovery. Sandy may cause as much as $20 billion in economic damage and losses, according to Eqecat Inc., a risk-management company in Oakland, California.

‘Human Damage’
Sandy came ashore as a hurricane two days ago near Atlantic City, New Jersey, the second-largest U.S. gaming center, causing “extensive” property damage, yet “the human damage has been minimal,” Mayor Lorenzo Langford said.
“So I think our glass is half full here in Atlantic City,” Langford said. “A large portion of the boardwalk has been washed away. But other than the boardwalk and some power lines and things down -- and trees being uprooted, and, of course, a major loss of dunes -- I think we did pretty good, all things considered.”

In New York City, subway service may not be restored for four to five days, said the mayor, who is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News. Seven subway tubes under the East River were inundated.

City buses resumed limited service late yesterday, with free fares offered on a temporary basis, Bloomberg said. About 6,400 people remained in evacuation centers and may stay until they can safely return home or find temporary housing, he said.

The ING New York City Marathon, the world’s biggest, will be held as scheduled Nov. 4, the mayor said.

Whether thousands of runners from outside the region can reach the city is another matter. About 20,000 of the expected 47,000 are international participants, organizers said. John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports, closed for two days by flooded runways and other damage, will reopen today with limited service, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said. LaGuardia and Teterboro airports remain closed.

In New Jersey, six deaths were linked to the storm, Christie said, and search-and-rescue teams were trying to help stranded residents. He said 4,500 people were in shelters.

Christie, one of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s top backers, praised Obama for his administration’s response to the storm in advance of the president’s visit today. Bloomberg said he asked Obama not to come to the city.

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