America After Sandy
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|Margaret Besheer||October 31st 2012|
President Barack Obama promised help for storm victims on the East Coast of the United States assistance ahead of a visit to New Jersey on Wednesday. New Jersey beach communities were among the hardest hit by super storm Sandy - which killed at least 43 people - as she came ashore Monday night. New York City was also dealing with continued power outages and mass transit stoppages, but is slowly trying to restart business in the country's financial capital.
Wednesday morning the New York Stock Exchange is due to reopen. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the trading floor did not sustain any damage and is fully operational.
The city is also working to get its mass transit system back on track. Some 8.5 million people use public transport daily. As of Tuesday evening, limited bus service was beginning in the five boroughs, but subway service remained halted, because flooded tunnels still need to be pumped of millions of gallons of water.
Brooklyn Heights resident Conor O'Shea said he was grateful that his neighborhood near the East River escaped the high waters that swept through lower Manhattan, but admitted that dealing with little public transport for the coming days would be a challenge. “Yeah, it is going to be an issue, so we will see how that goes. Hopefully they will get it back up sooner rather than later,” he said.
Kevin Burke, the head of the city's power company, Con Edison, said Sandy was the worst storm the utility has ever had to deal with, knocking out power to some 750,000 customers. “It was an extraordinary event, it has devastated our system and resulted in significant outages to our customers. But we have already begun to restore customers,” said Burke.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he hoped power would be restored in the next day or two. Residents of New Jersey state's beachfront communities bore the brunt of Sandy's wrath. Some 2.6 million households are without power and many homes were badly damaged or destroyed by flooding and winds.
Governor Chris Christie, a lifelong resident of the state, toured affected areas by helicopter Tuesday. He appeared emotionally moved when he told reporters afterwards about the devastation he witnessed. President Obama will visit New Jersey on Wednesday and Governor Christie said he would discuss the rebuilding process with him. “One of the things that I'm going to talk to the president about tomorrow is getting the Army Corps of Engineers in here as quickly as possible for us to begin the planning of the rebuilding of the beach -- and what's the best way to do that to try to protect the beach and towns that lie right next to these beaches,” said Christie.
Several coastal communities in the state of Connecticut were also pounded by the storm. Severe flooding and downed trees have left nearly 600,000 residents there without electricity.
Margaret Besheer writes for VOA News, from where this article was adapted.