Hurricane Sandy: Scope of Superstorm’s Devastation Widens, Death Toll Spirals

Four days after the powerful storm hit the U.S. Northeast, rescuers on Friday were still discovering the extent devastation in New York and the New Jersey shore.

While the destructions are still being examined, the death toll speeds up. Photo: Roey Ahram/Flickr

The death toll after four days of the raging storm jumped by a third on Thursday, to 98 killed. According to the officials, in New York City 40 people were killed, half of them in Staten Island, which was overrun by a wall of water on Monday.

The list of the dead includes two babies of 2 and 4, who were swept from their mother’s arms after her car stalled in rising flood waters, Reuters writes.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Administrator Richard Serino revealed its plans to visit Staten Island on Friday amid angry claims by some survivors that they had been ignored.

Highly disappointed and angry hurricane victims would complicate matters for politicians just four days before the general election. Nevertheless, President Obama is praised for his handling of Sandy.

“They forgot about us,” said Theresa Connor, 42, describing her Staten Island neighborhood as having been “annihilated.” “And (Mayor Michael) Bloomberg said New York is fine. The marathon is on!”

Citing the boost it brings to the city’s economy, Mr Bloomberg decided on holding the world’s largest marathon on Sunday, as was initially planned.

Some New York residents without power might have to wait another week, The Huffington Post reports.

Con Edison said it would restore power to the vast majority of its customers by the weekend of November 10 and 11, citing “unprecedented damage” caused by the storm.

The company reports that on Thursday, there were 649,000 of its clients were without service in New York City and Westchester County.

The power provider expects to restore service to customers in mid to lower Manhattan by Saturday.

Meanwhile, Sandy’s role in the global warming and other matters are highly discussed by meteorologists and other climate scientists.

This week saw a statement of New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo who said of the hurricane’s role in climate change and suggested that the damages in his state – as well as others – will be recovering for months, and perhaps years, to come.

“It’s a longer conversation, but I think part of learning from this is the recognition that climate change is a reality,” Cuomo said. “Extreme weather is a reality. It is a reality that we are vulnerable.”

Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs in the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University said that there are certainties involving human safety and vulnerability that a storm like Sandy puts into stark relief.

“Whether or not there was a climate change component to this storm, it teaches us a lot of things, including how behind the 8-ball we are in being able to handle big events of the type that we believe – that scientists think – are going to get more frequent and intense in the future,” Oppenheimer said.

“So whether this one was 5 percent due to climate change or 1 percent or 10 percent – it’s interesting, it matters to a certain extent, but it’s not the whole story by any means,” he added.

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