Hurricane Sandy: Death Toll Climbs, Millions Still without Power

Millions of people are still without electricity, the U.S. death toll reached 55 victims.

Tuesday saw the news that millions awoke without power as hurricane Sandy reached inland, delivering punishing wind and heavy rain. Photo: Adam Martin/Flickr

Residents of the areas hit by the destructive superstorm have already set to rebuilding Wednesday, despite many still have no electricity, neighborhoods remain strewn with debris and many transportation systems remain closed, Fox News informs.

According to reports, the U.S. death toll climbed to at least 55 people, while one economic firm predicted caused up $20 billion in damage.

New York City buses again follow their schedule and the New York Stock Exchange is preparing to reopen its trading floor Wednesday.

However, it became clear that restoring the ruined area to some semblance of normalcy could take up to four days or even longer for communities that were the hardest hit.

“We will get through the days ahead by doing what we always do in tough times — by standing together, shoulder to shoulder, ready to help a neighbor, comfort a stranger and get the city we love back on its feet,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

“We are in the midst of urban search and rescue. Our teams are moving as fast as they can,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said. “The devastation on the Jersey Shore is some of the worst we’ve ever seen. The cost of the storm is incalculable at this point.”

The powerful storm had already left at least 55 people dead along the Atlantic Coast, and had destroyed beachfront buildings from the mid-Atlantic states to southern New England. Sandy later moved across Pennsylvania on a predicted path toward New York State and Canada.

State officials reported that the hurricane had left more than 8.2 million people without electricity — some as far away as Michigan. Nearly a quarter of those without power were in New York, where Manhattan, which never sleeps, remained dark for a second night.

Consolidated Edison said that electricity in and around Big Apple could take a week to restore. “This is the largest storm-related outage in our history,” said Sara Banda, a spokeswoman for Con Edison.

“We try to restore lines that will get power to the most customers possible, but it will depend on the equipment.”

“Everybody knew it was coming. Unfortunately, it was everything they said it was,” said Sal Novello, a construction executive who rode out the storm with his wife, Lori, in the Long Island town of Lindenhurst, and ended up with 7 feet of water in the basement.

Forecasting firm IHS Global Insight predicted Tuesday Sandy will cost the government up to $20 billion in damage and $10 billion to $30 billion in lost business.

Another firm, AIR Worldwide, estimated losses about $15 billion — big numbers probably offset by reconstruction and repairs that will contribute to longer-term growth.

“The biggest problem is not the first few days but the coming months,” said Alan Rubin, an expert in natural disaster recovery.

But, amid the despair, talk of recovery was already beginning.

“It’s heartbreaking after being here 37 years,” Barry Prezioso of Point Pleasant, N.J., said as he returned to his house in the beachfront community to survey the damage.

“You see your home demolished like this, it’s tough. But nobody got hurt and the upstairs is still livable, so we can still live upstairs and clean this out. I’m sure there’s people that had worse. I feel kind of lucky.”

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