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Ear to the Ground

Obama Visits New Jersey as Storm’s Death Toll Rises

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Posted on Oct 31, 2012
Flickr/New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority

A subway station in New York City is flooded in the aftermath of Sandy.

A massive recovery and cleanup effort is under way on the East Coast as residents try to get their lives back to normal after the historic and devastating megastorm. Making things more difficult is the fact that nearly 6 million people in 15 states and Washington, D.C., remain without power.

Meantime, the death toll from Hurricane Sandy continued to climb on Wednesday, with two more attributed to the storm, bringing the number of people who have died to 50. At least 118 deaths from the Caribbean to Canada have been blamed on the storm thus far.

The Huffington Post:

Much of the initial recovery efforts focused on New York City, the region’s economic heart. Bloomberg said it could take four or five days before the subway, which suffered the worst damage in its 108-year history, is running again. All 10 of the tunnels that carry commuters under the East River were flooded. But high water prevented inspectors from immediately assessing damage to key equipment, raising the possibility that the nation’s largest city could endure an extended shutdown of the system that 5 million people count on to get to work and school each day. The chairman of the state agency that runs the subway, Joseph Lhota, said service might have to resume piecemeal, and experts said the cost of the repairs could be staggering.

Power company Consolidated Edison said it would be four days before the last of the 337,000 customers in Manhattan and Brooklyn who lost power have electricity again and it could take a week to restore outages in the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Westchester County. Floodwater led to explosions that disabled a power substation Monday night, contributing to the outages.

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Between property damage and economic losses, it’s estimated that Sandy could end up costing up to $60 billion.

President Obama headed to New Jersey, one of the states receiving federal disaster aid, to see the full extent of the storm’s damage with Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday afternoon. Christie, a Republican and unabashed Obama critic, has offered effusive praise for the president in the wake of the disaster.

The Washington Post:

As he reviews storm damage with Christie in Atlantic City, where Sandy made landfall Monday night, Obama will join a political opponent who hasn’t been shy about criticizing his administration. In recent days, though, Christie has appeared inclined to put politics aside in the wake of the deadly storm that slammed the East Coast. He even praised Obama’s response to New Jersey’s post-storm needs in a Tuesday morning interview.

“The federal government’s response has been great. I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the President, personally, he has expedited the designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area,” Christie said on NBC’s “Today” show.

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With the presidential election just six days away, Obama has been off the campaign trail since the storm hit. However, he is scheduled to begin campaigning again on Thursday with stops in Wisconsin, Colorado and Nevada.

 

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