Death toll of superstorm Sandy rises

AFP, Reuters and AP, NEW YORK

Sat, Nov 03, 2012 - Page 1

A grim routine set in yesterday as superstorm Sandy’s US victims struggled to adjust to gasoline lines, power outages and temporary housing while the death toll from the monster hurricane approached 100.

Many victims were electrocuted or drowned in flooded basements, while others died from poisoning from fumes given off by diesel generators used since the storm.

The bodies of two young boys who had been torn from their mother’s arms in the storm surge were recovered from a marsh in New York City’s Staten Island, where at least 19 people were killed — almost half of the city’s death toll — and some garbage-piled streets remained flooded.

James Molinaro, the borough’s president, said the American Red Cross “is nowhere to be found.”

The island is the starting point of the New York City Marathon, the world’s largest, which the city has declared would start from Staten Island as usual tomorrow, though backlash against that decision grew.

“If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream,” New York City Councilman James Oddo said on his Twitter account. “We have people with no homes and no hope right now.”

New York’s subway lurched back to life with limited service on Thursday, offering some relief from the city’s gridlock, but east coast residents faced long lines at filling stations and lingering blackouts.

At least 92 people have been reported dead across the 15 states hit by Monday night’s unprecedented storm, including 40 in New York City, while some economists have estimated the disaster will cost up to US$50 billion.

More bodies are being found as police and firefighters continue “their lifesaving mission, going block-by-block and door-to-door in the areas devastated by the hurricane,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday.

Bloomberg said the city would start handing out food and water, while National Guard officers and police would go into high-rise buildings to help the elderly.