Temperatures approach freezing as another storm looks set to hit New York in the wake of Superstorm Sandy

 

Mere days after a devastating superstorm swept through the region, leaving a trail of destruction behind it, the residents of New York and New Jersey are facing another crisis.

As tens of thousands of people struggled without power, and with temperatures dipping towards freezing, state governor Andrew Cuomo, and Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, warned of a "massive, massive housing" problem, as residents waited to be relocated following the storm.

The most seriously affected are those in public housing, and therefore those who have nowhere else to go.

Many people are living in increasingly difficult circumstances - in damp, cold, dark and uninhabitable apartments.

Cuomo warned that up to 40,000 people needed relocating because of damage from the storm and the lack of electricity and heat.

“People are in homes that are uninhabitable,” Cuomo said.

It's going to become increasingly clear that they're uninhabitable when the temperature drops and the heat doesn't come on.”

Genice Josey, a Far Rockaway resident said: “You shiver yourself to sleep. Nights are the worst because you feel like you're outside when you're inside.”

The crisis has been further exacerbated by the lack of fuel, with people struggling to run back-up generators.

Washington has already sanctioned the release of 12m gallons of unleaded fuel and 10m gallons of diesel, which was being transported into New Jersey and New York over the weekend.

As a new storm approached, which is expected to hit New Jersey and New York by Wednesday, fear and anger continued to rise over the government response, with some claiming the official response has been too slow.

The new storm is expected to bring the threat of 55 mph gusts and more possible beach erosion, flooding and rain.

With temperatures sinking into the 30s Fahrenheit (1 to 4 degrees Celsius) overnight, New York City officials handed out blankets and urged victims to go to overnight shelters or daytime warming centers.

But government leaders began to wonder where to find housing in the densely developed area around the largest US city for the tens of thousands whose homes could be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Bloomberg said 30,000 to 40,000 New Yorkers may need to be relocated — a monumental task in a city where housing is scarce and expensive — though he said that number will probably drop to 20,000 within a couple of weeks as power is restored in more places.

“We're not going to let anybody go sleeping in the streets. ... But it's a challenge, and we're working on it,” Bloomberg said.

One option is setting up Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer camps of the kind that existed after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, said George W. Contreras, associate director of the emergency and disaster management program at Metropolitan College of New York.

Contreras speculated that large encampments might be set up at a stadium, in a park or in some other open space in the city — something he couldn't recall being done in New York ever before.

“The amount of actual units the city might have in buildings is probably very limited, so I think people will be in FEMA shelters for a while,” he said.

In a powerless and heavily flooded Staten Island neighborhood, Sara Zavala sleeps under two blankets and layers of clothing. She has a propane heater but turns it on for only a couple of hours in the morning.

“When I woke up, I was like, 'It's freezing.' And I thought, 'This can't go on too much longer,”' she said Sunday.

Nearly 1 million homes and businesses are still without power in New Jersey, and about 650,000 in New York City, its northern suburbs and Long Island.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
football
News
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Sport
Louis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
people
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
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 Graphic Designer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical and Electrical Engineer

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...

Recruitment Genius: Concierge and Porter

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a customer focused, pro...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer / Front-End Designer - City of London

£27000 - £33000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End Devel...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot