Restoring power will take time, says Mayor

 

New York

Nearly five million homes and businesses in the American north-east were still without power yesterday, complicating the recovery effort in communities lashed by Superstorm Sandy. With temperatures falling in many parts of the storm-ravaged coast, thousands struggled to revive their daily routines amid fuel shortages and widespread traffic snarls.

The human toll continued to climb, with the at least 82 dead in North America adding to the 69 struck down as Sandy crossed the Caribbean. In New York, the discovery of the bodies of two Staten Island children pushed up the tally of those who perished in the state to 37.

Four-year old Connor Moore and his brother Brandon, two, were with their mother, Glenda, on Monday evening when lapping storm-waters disabled their car. "She put the two boys on the roof of the car to avoid the water and then another large wave came and apparently washed it away," New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the New York Post.

A day after President Barack Obama said that restoring power was a major concern, battered towns and cities in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut were coming to terms with the prospect of a cold and dark weekend, with local utilities not expecting to restore electricity to many thousands until next week.

In New York City, an estimated 676,000 were still without power. Mayor Michael Bloomberg last night urged caution as residents attempted to get by, after candles set off a serious fire in the Rockaways. He also said food and bottled water was being distributed.

Mr Bloomberg warned that the restoration of power would "take time". Compounding the woes of many in the city, mobile-phone service had, until Thursday morning, been patchy at best in swaths of Lower Manhattan.

As parts of the public transport network began coming back to life, fuel shortages were also weighing on people's minds in New York City and further afield. Queues formed at petrol stations as supplies fell across the region because of power cuts and still-idle refineries on the Atlantic seaboard.

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