18 New Yorkers killed in superstorm
Wed, 31 Oct 2012 11:28a.m.
By 3 News online staff
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has confirmed the death told in his city has climbed to 18.
At a press conference a short time ago, Mr Bloomberg said he had spent the morning surveying Sandy’s destruction from the air.
“I don’t think it’s any secret, but Sandy hit us very hard,” he says.
“It was a storm of historic intensity.”
Mr Bloomberg said the flight gave him a clear look at Sandy's extensive damage.
In Breezy Point, more than 80 homes were destroyed by fire, leaving the area completely levelled.
“Chimneys and foundations are all that was left,” he says.
“The good news is that there were no fatalities, thank God [but] unfortunately, we have had 18 fatalities city-wide as a result of this storm.”
Sandy has claimed the lives of at least 48 people in the US and cut power to more than 8.2 million households.
Restoring electricity and transit remain the two biggest priorities for New York in the days ahead, with engineers aiming to get power back on “as soon as humanly possible”, Mr Bloomberg says.
Portable lights will be placed on city streets that don’t have power overnight, but recovery of services is a “mammoth job”.
A free bus service for New Yorkers will begin operating this evening local time and, as of this afternoon, approximately 4000 yellow cabs were operating in the city.
“Business is getting back to normal – at least where there is electricity,” Mr Bloomberg says.
He applauded the work of the first responders FDNY and NYPD, as well as the 2900 people staffing 76 evacuation centres. More than 6,400 people remain in the centres today as the cleanup from Sandy begins.
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