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 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

'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
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk