“I don’t see the Corps of Engineers,” Jim Brennan, a retired New York firefighter, said as he stepped over fragments of boat hulls and other debris blown onto his seafront lawn. “No National Guard. No Red Cross. No FEMA. No [New York Department of Environmental Protection]. No garbage trucks. American flags are flying all over this neighborhood. Where is our government?”
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) canceled Sunday’s running of the New York City Marathon, yielding to critics who said it was insensitive to host a sporting event while authorities were still pulling the dead from the storm’s wreckage.
“While life in much of our city is getting back to normal, for New Yorkers that have lost loved ones, the storm left a wound that I think will never heal,” Bloomberg told reporters earlier Friday. “For those that lost homes or businesses, recovery will be long and difficult.”
The city’s death toll rose to 41, part of a nationwide tally of about 100 storm-related deaths. Fourteen occurred in New Jersey, where the storm devastated coastal barrier islands and flooded densely populated urban areas.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) said that carbon monoxide poisoning, a result of the inexperienced use of power generators, accounted for two of his city’s three fatalities and that the rate of carbon monoxide emergencies was “skyrocketing.”
Booker said that up to half of Newark’s residents have power but that the challenges posed by the storm’s destructiveness are proving difficult to address.
“The need is so vast,” he said. “There are a lot of stories of hardship that have not been told. We are definitely going to continue to uncover things.”
Across the Eastern Seaboard, communities were coming to terms with devastation that delivered an unprecedented punch to the region’s economy, causing more than an estimated $50 billion in losses and forcing hundreds of thousands to rebuild their lives.
With countless drivers unable to find gas to power vehicles and generators, the Obama administration announced Friday that the Defense Logistics Agency would buy up to 22 million gallons of fuel that would be delivered to affected communities throughout the New York region. Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) ordered gasoline rationing in 12 counties starting at noon Saturday.
Bloomberg said his city was showing many signs of returning to normal, vowing that most of the 460,000 homes and business without out electricity would have it restored by midnight Friday. Subway systems in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens were gradually coming back into service, and most of the city’s more than 1 million public school students were expected to return to class Monday.