New York re-emerges from Sandy's wreckage
01 November, 2012
NEW YORK: Two airports and Wall Street reopened on Wednesday, bringing the first signs of normality back to storm-battered New York, as US President Barack Obama headed on a politically charged inspection of spectacular damage in neighbouring New Jersey.
The Big Apple, reduced to a standstill by one of the biggest storms in its history on Monday and Tuesday, was only just starting to re-emerge from the wreckage.
New Yorkers struggled to restore power and clear debris on Wednesday after superstorm Sandy carved a path of destruction from the Caribbean to Canada that left at least 110 people dead.
The massive cyclone that drove hurricane-force winds and deadly ocean surges against a large swathe of the US East Coast was still generating blizzards in the Appalachians, as millions remained without power and transport was snarled. Obama planned to tour flooded areas alongside New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Romney was meanwhile set to return to the campaign trail in Florida after cancelling events on Monday and Tuesday to focus on rescue and recovery work.
The death toll from accidents related to the storm rose to 43 in North America since Sandy made landfall on Monday, with 67 killed earlier as the then-hurricane tore through the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, authorities and citizens in America's biggest city struggled to restore vital services and clear debris after a wall of storm-driven seawater swamped road and rail tunnels and triggered massive fires.
"Restoring power and mass transit remain the two biggest challenges in the days ahead," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters, as rescue crews and utility workers surveyed an apocalyptic scene. "This is the end of the downside, and hopefully from here it is going up," Bloomberg said.
In the Queens neighbourhood of Breezy Point, more than 80 houses burned after flooding caused a fire, while lower Manhattan was blacked out by a massive power cut.
The New York subway system, much of which was flooded by seawater, was still gripped by what management dubbed its worst disaster in its 108-year history.
Insured losses from the massive superstorm could run between $7 billion and 15 billion dollars, according to initial industry estimates.
The destruction was not limited to New York. Cities up and down the Eastern Seaboard from Boston to Philadelphia to Washington were buffeted by storm-force winds and coastal communities suffered widespread flooding.