Hurricane Sandy devastation in the USA


This 1 November 2012 video from the USA is called Hurricane Sandy | Timelapse of the Storm from The New York Times Building | The New York Times.

By Kate Randall in the USA:

Growing popular anger as Hurricane Sandy death toll rises to 90

2 November 2012

There is growing popular anger in New York, New Jersey and throughout the US Northeast, amidst widespread power outages and gasoline shortages in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The US death toll rose Thursday to at least 90 people in the US and two in Canada. The storm earlier claimed at least 67 lives in the Caribbean.

Tens of millions of people in the Northeast confront traffic gridlock, long lines at gas stations, and public transit that is nonexistent or patchy at best. People are struggling to find a means to get to work, while others remain at home with no electricity, heat, refrigeration or elevator service. Some residents are still trapped in their homes, surrounded by fetid floodwaters.

Commuters seeking to get into Manhattan on MTA shuttles as subway tunnels remained shut down, photo: MTA Patrick Cashin

More than 4.5 million people remain without power, stretching as far north as Maine and south to North Carolina. This includes about 2.5 million people in metropolitan New York. In New York City, utility giant ConEd said the 228,000 without power in Manhattan should have it back by Saturday, leaving another 400,000 elsewhere in the city in the dark. The company estimated that some New Yorkers would not have power back until November 11, some two weeks after the storm hit.

In the hardest hit state of New Jersey, 1.8 million homes and businesses still had no power as of Thursday. In New York and Connecticut, 17 percent were without power. Some 15 percent of West Virginia customers still lacked power after up to three feet of snow fell in some areas of the state. Pennsylvania outages were down to 8 percent.

The death told in New York City alone has risen to 38, with 19 of these deaths in the borough of Staten Island. There is growing anger in the borough over the slow pace of government action, evan as resources have been quickly mobilized to reopen Wall Street and restore functionality to luxury apartment complexes.

In lower Manhattan, people looked through discarded food in dumpsters

“I think that we are not getting the attention because we are a working class neighborhood, and [they are saying] fend for yourselves,” one Staten Island resident told NBC News. Bodies continue to be found in the flood waters, including two young boys, aged 2 and 4, who were swept from their mother’s arms.

Staten Island residents criticized the decision of Mayor Michael Bloomberg to go ahead with this Sunday’s New York Marathon. They charged that the prestige event will divert vital resources while hundreds of thousands of city and metropolitan area residents are still without power, and are running short of food, fuel and other supplies.

There are, however, large amounts of money and corporate interests at stake in the marathon. Bloomberg responded to criticism by saying, “It’s a great event for New York, and I think for those who were lost, you’ve got to believe they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on for those that they left behind.”

The threat of a major gas supply crisis is growing, as commuters and taxi operators attempt to fuel their vehicles and people line up outside gas stations to fill containers to power generators and pumps to clear out flood damage. New York taxi companies started pulling vehicles off the road on Thursday as gas supplies began to dwindle.

Ralph Bombardiere, executive director of the New York State Association of Service Stations, reported that in New York City “over 50 percent of service stations are not able to sell gasoline and it could be up to 75 percent.” Gasoline retailer associations in New Jersey said more than 80 percent of service stations in the state were shut.

Stations either have no gas or no power to pump it. Fuel supplies into New York and New Jersey are being choked off both by problems at refineries and delivery difficulties. Two refineries that account for a quarter of the region’s gas and diesel supply stand idle due to power outages and flooding. In addition, major New York import terminals are damaged and powerless.

In Lower Manhattan, however, giant generators used to power the New York Stock Exchange and large banks continue to be supplied with adequate fuel. Meanwhile, many public housing residents in the area remain without power, heat and water, virtually ignored by city authorities and the media. (See “New York City public housing without lights, heat or water after storm”)

People waiting for food being distributed

The partial resumption of service on 14 or the city’s 23 subway lines did little to alleviate the transportation nightmare facing those trying to commute to work or leave their powerless neighborhoods.

The seven tunnels beneath the East River remain flooded, and the Brooklyn-Battery, Queens-Midtown and Holland Tunnels remain closed. Many train lines are operating with large gaps in the routes, and there is no subway service at all below 34th Street.

People lined up for blocks to board MTA buses, waiting hours on end. Authorities enforced a three-passenger minimum for vehicles driving over bridges to Manhattan.

Many drivers said their commute took several hours longer than usual; some gave up after hours-long waits in traffic and in lines that stretched for miles to cross bridges into Manhattan. Some who were able chose to walk instead of wait on buses or haggle for taxis in short supply. Bicycles were a major mode of transport on the darkened streets of Lower Manhattan.

Across the Hudson River, in Hoboken, New Jersey, 25 percent of the city’s residences remain underwater, and a majority have no power. Thousands of residents remain stranded in apartment buildings, surrounded by waist-high contaminated water.

Along the New Jersey coastline, residents able to return to their homes are witnessing scenes of devastation. The storm, which came aground here, beat back and reshaped the shoreline, tossing boats in the air like toys, throwing sand inland, and uprooting homes at their foundations.

In Point Pleasant Beach, about half of the mile-long boardwalk was either destroyed or seriously damaged. The town of Seaside Park remains underwater, and a fire in the town of Mantoloking destroyed 14 homes when firefighters were unable to reach the blaze.

Residents who evacuated some of the barrier islands along the Jersey shore have not yet been able to return to assess the damage, as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued an order that residents wait until conditions improve. Many roads in the state remain impassable, and open gas lines and fallen trees pose a potential danger.

The slow pace of the recovery for those affected by the storm brings with it the danger of economic devastation for families and small businesses, as well as threats to health. The total economic damage from Sandy could run as high as $50 billion, according to new estimates from Eqecat, more than double earlier estimates from the forecasting firm.

Many small businesses remain closed. The longer they do translates into not only lost business for owners, but lost wages for the workers they employ. While large businesses take out insurance against business interruptions, small businesses find premiums for such coverage prohibitive and are far less likely to do so. Hourly workers, whose workplaces are shut down or who have no way to get there, have no insurance to cover the wages lost.

In many places, floodwaters are a toxic stew. Tina Tan, state epidemiologist for the New Jersey Department of Health, told National Public Radio, “Floodwaters potentially could contain mixtures of a variety of chemicals such as pesticides, paint, gasoline … things for example that you might store in your garage or your basement.”

In some areas, sewage treatment plants have been sidelined by fires or flooding, posing the spread of bacteria and other pathogens that might make people sick. Consumption of spoiled food due to lack of refrigeration increases the risk of foodborne illness.

The improper use of generators poses the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, while downed power lines pose the risk of electrocution. As waters recede, mold can begin growing, triggering allergies, asthma attacks and other conditions.

On Staten Island, hotel owner won’t displace storm victims to make room for NYC Marathon runners: here.

Governor Christie allegedly used millions in Hurricane Sandy relief funds to pay for TV ads starring himself: here.

The scandal involving New Jersey governor Chris Christie and the four-day diversion of traffic onto the George Washington Bridge that created chaos last September continues, with no end in sight: here.

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11 thoughts on “Hurricane Sandy devastation in the USA

  1. This was indeed an unprecedented disaster and will of course take a lot of time to rebuild everything, I know that when these natural phenomenons happen that the people at the grass roots level always seem to be left wanting and yet in other areas, some are already regrouping.

    It is disheartening and natural to feel as though the world is just moving on without a care, and that politicians are just waffling on and doing what a lot of them do best, but there are lots of positives in that the death toll could have been much higher for such an horrific that was Hurricane Sandy.

    This is my first visit to your Space and I hope that my contribution here is not seen in the negative, indeed I can understand the anger and frustration of everyone affected, especially when one sees the aftermath of this most powerful storm, a true disaster and i wish everyone well, and a quick return to some kind of normalcy, which for some will never be realised due to their very sad losses.

    Androgoth

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    • Hi Androgoth, thanks for your comment. Indeed the death toll might have been still higher, like with Katrina in New Orleans. Still, every death individual is a sad loss to people around him or her.

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  2. Pingback: Hurricane Sandy floods New York Aquarium | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. HURRICANE SANDY: CAPITALISM IS THE DISASTER

    PEOPLE’S POWER IS THE ANSWER

    Protest Rally & March in NYC —

    Sat. Nov. 3 – 12noon at Main Post Office 34th St. & 8th Ave. Manhattan

    Following this join the Peoples Power Assembly in a “people to people” relief effort. We will distribute water, do free blood pressure screenings at the nearby Chelsea community and help in food distribution.

    NEXT STEP:

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10th PEOPLES POWER REGIONAL ASSEMBLY MEETINGS

    The Peoples Power Assembly commends and has joined in the many relief efforts led by community activists, who understand that the people cannot depend on the system to do what’s necessary, from Chelsea Housing, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, the Peoples Power Movement, the Occupy Movement and countless others in providing immediate relief, throughout the impacted areas from New York City to New Jersey, from Baltimore, Philadelphia to New England.

    We commend the hard working sisters and brothers of the Transit Workers Union, city workers, AMTRAK workers, nurses and hospital staff who have labored throughout this “super storm” risking life and limb.

    Thousands of people in poor communities throughout the region are asking where’s FEMA? Where is city, state and county government’s? Many are outraged that Mayor Bloomberg would pour resources into making sure the NYC Marathon goes forward, that the Stock Exchange opens, while the poor and workers of the city are still without power, hospitals are being evacuated, and gas is close to running out. Where are the priorities? Instead “stop and frisk” policies have escalated and curfews continue.

    We demand first and foremost:

    · That the homeless, the elderly, the very young, those with physical and mental challenges, the poor, along with all the people, have priority over big business and the banks—this means emergency access and distribution of food, clothing, medical care and shelter.

    · It’s a crime that Wall Street was up and running in less than 36 hours while people throughout the region still languish without lights or heat.

    · We want a Works Progress Administration (WPA) style jobs program to put the thousands of unemployed workers back to work at union wages to immediately provide services and rebuild the region. Thousands of unemployed laborers with LIUNA and other unions need jobs; unemployed youth need jobs too. Why should exploitative private contractors profit at the peoples expense off of this disaster. While we demand jobs for all and solidarity with workers around the world, we reject “guest worker” programs like those used after Hurricane Katrina which amounted to “slave labor” and union busting.

    · No police repression! The people need services and jobs, not jails. Drop all the charges on the arrested youth in Jersey City; end police abuse, racial profiling and brutality now.

    · Reopen closed hospitals, and make working backup generators a priority. We must protect the sick in the advent of a disaster—it’s unacceptable that so many hospitals in New York, important hospitals like St. Vincent’s were already closed making evacuation even more difficult.

    · Free transit throughout the crisis. No fare hikes. Reduced fares for low-wage and unemployed workers.

    · We demand that the trillions spent on war and occupation abroad, be spent on compensating and paying reparations to the thousands of workers who have lost wages, have suffered from property damage, and who have been hurt or injured. This includes small businesses and whole communities.

    · Give priority to the communities ignored from Brooklyn to those living in Far Rockaway, to those neglected in rural areas and small towns.

    · We call for full rights & legalization for undocumented workers who may be afraid to come forward for needed food and care. We demand an immediate end to any form of racism, bigotry, anti-LGBTQ, anti-woman or anti-youth bias in resources or treatment.

    Global capitalism has created this crisis! We wish we could say this was solely a natural disaster, but every scientific source clearly has pointed out that “global warming” has been at the root of this kind of “super storm.” It is not an exaggeration to say that we have arrived at the tipping point on the climate crisis. The people and scientists who have been fighting this issue from India to Bolivia for decades must be allowed to step in and implement a real peoples plan and we must work to halt the capitalist system itself. Or else.

    We can do it! People’s power must be on the agenda! Solidarity is our first defense! The movement must come together.

    Join the Peoples Power Assembly this Saturday for an emergency response. But if transportation problems prevent you from reaching 34th St., there is much still to do.

    NEXT STEP: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10th – first in a series of critical planning meetings and summits – immediately following the election to begin the process of strategizing and planning a fight back in preparation of coming plans by the 1% to enact severe austerity measures. The movement must prepare.

    Plan to discuss how to fight back against the growing police terror in communities from Oakland to Baltimore to Jersey City, from New York to New Orleans.

    Join the PPA, Nov. 10, 2pm at the Solidarity Center, 55 W. 17th St. 5th Floor, NYC, NY 10011.

    And join us on Dec. 15th in Baltimore for a National Peoples Power Assembly to continue our plans to fight for Peoples Power.

    Contact the Peoples Power Assembly. Call 212-633-6646 or visit www. occupy4jobs.org

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  4. Pingback: Hurricane Sandy and unusual birds | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. We are in a mandatory evacuation zone in southeastern Connecticut but live on a big hill so stayed. Power was out for only 5 days (Hurricane Irene left us without power for 9 days last year) but we are lucky that it is still autumn and warm enough to go without heat.

    I am glad that Occupy is involved in organizing NYC residents. Fellow CT occupiers have gone into the city to help. Here are other ways to help Occupy’s efforts: http://www.occupy.com/article/occupy-sandy-ows-helps-storm-victims

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  6. Pingback: Stop Yemen war, protest 11 December New York City | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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