Mayor criticised for telling Atlantic City residents to stay put for Hurricane Sandy

 

New Jersey, US

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faulted Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford for advising residents to stay put as Hurricane Sandy barreled in, leaving a large number stranded as water levels rise.

"There is no way for us to go get them," Christie said.

Rescuers can't reach shelters and homes in the city until at least daybreak, the first-term Republican governor said at a 5:35 p.m. news briefing. One shelter, a public school, is "literally a block away from the bay," he said.

The hurricane bore down on the Garden State packing sustained winds of as much as 85 miles (137 kilometers) per hour at 7 p.m., and came ashore along the state's southern coast. The deadly storm, measuring 900 miles across, may leave as much as $20 billion of property damage in its wake. By the time the storm made landfall, the city's fabled boardwalk was awash in the surf.

"This has become particularly problematic in Atlantic City, where for whatever reason Mayor Langford urged people to stay in shelters in the city," the governor said. A man who answered the telephone in the mayor's office said he was unavailable to comment as he was out assessing the effects of the storm.

"For those of you who are on the barrier islands who decided it was better idea to wait this out than to evacuate, and for those elected officials who decided to ignore my admonition, this is now your responsibility," Christie said. He ordered people to leave the coastal areas Saturday. "Evacuations are no longer possible," the governor said at the briefing.

Some people sheltering at the Golden Nugget casino agreed with Christie's criticism of Langford and said the mayor should have done more to help with evacuation and storm preparation.

"He should have made sure the evacuation was mandatory," said Cary Putzer about Langford.

Putzer was in the casino because he couldn't walk to a city shelter. He said he called the local emergency response telephone numbers four times before finally being told no one would be coming to pick him up and take him to a safer location.

"The lady started screaming at me and said you need to get to a shelter by yourself and then we can help you," Putzer said. The Brigantine Island resident said he walked across a bridge into the city to find shelter.

Luz Guevara also walked to the casino after calling the local emergency response numbers. The Atlantic City resident said she began asking for help Sunday night for both herself and her family, including six grandchildren. Coast Guard personnel holed up at the casino finally used their personal vehicles to take Guevara and her family to a shelter.

"If you're still able to hear me, we need you to hunker down and get to the highest point possible," Christie said, speaking those who remained in the storm's path from state police headquarters in West Trenton. "I cannot in good conscience send rescuers in as the storm is about to hit."

A 21-member search-and-rescue team will be sent to Atlantic City starting at daybreak. Another team, with 40 members and 10 boats that's based in Lakehurst, will be dispatched to other barrier islands.

New Jersey's gambling centre  is trying to attract new visitors and reclaim some of the gamblers who frequented the city when it had an East Coast monopoly. It has lost customers to newer casinos in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York.

Christie has expanded casino marketing, eased regulations and created a tourism district around the resorts to give the state a greater role in policing and development. He gave the Revel Entertainment Group a $261 million tax break to help restart construction. The company's oceanside hotel and wagering rooms had a grand opening in May.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living