Million of people in dismay after Superstorm Sandy leaves entire neighborhoods in ruins on East Coast
by Artur Tofan
Millions of Americans remained in the dark as the Superstorm Sandy marched inland on Monday night, October 29, stretching nearly 600 miles and killing at least 110 people in the United States alone, and nearly another 100 in the Caribbean.
The deadly storm made landfall in New Jersey with the wrath of 80 mph winds, sweeping entire neighborhoods in its path from Carolina to Maine and leaving the nation’s busiest metropolis New York paralyzed. Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg said it would be a “very, very long time” before power would return to certain neighborhoods along the coast.
“This will be one for the record books,” said John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at Consolidated Edison, which left more than 684,000 customers without power in New York City alone on Tuesday morning after the storm. Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota said in a press conference that “the damage to the subway system was the worst in its 108-year history.”
On Sunday, November 4, 1.9 million homes still remained with no power and no heat, raising concerns as the temperatures started to plunge close to the freezing point. “A lot of people haven’t been able to bathe or stay warm. Last night was cold and this night is going to be much worse,” said Adeline Camacho, a volunteer for The Red Cross, in an interview for Reuters as she was handing out soup and sandwiches to needy residents of the Lower East Side of Manhattan on Sunday, November 4.
The New Jersey coast saw the worst of the storm. Governor Chris Christie said the damage along the Jersey Shore was “unthinkable.” Its iconic Seaside Heights was left in ruins, parts of the boardwalk wiped out, and entire neighborhoods completely submerged and devastated. Christie said 2.4 million households in New Jersey were left in the dark Tuesday after the storm, twice the number left powerless after Hurricane Irene last year.
Damage estimates put the cost of the storm around $50 billion, the second costliest storm in history, behind Hurricane Katrina. Last year, Hurricane Irene caused an estimated $15.8 billion in total damage and killed at least 67 people .
President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in New York and Long Island, and called the storm “heartbreaking for the nation.” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also acknowledged the suffering caused by Sandy and called for national unity; “We’re going through trauma in a major part of the country,” said Romney on his campaign trail in Florida two days after the disaster.
With the post-storm commotion overshadowing the final days of campaigning, a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 68 percent of those surveyed approved of how Obama handled Sandy and 15 percent disapproved.