Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, updated residents on the city’s response to Hurricane Sandy in a speech delivered this morning at the Office of Emergency Management in Downtown Brooklyn, N.Y.
“We’re joined by Senator Chuck Schumer and Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and we’re here to update you on Hurricane Sandy which has now officially left the New York City area. But I think it’s fair to say the path of destruction that she left in her wake is going to be felt for quite some time,” the mayor stated.
According to the mayor, the storm caused approximately 23 serious fires in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, City Island and the Bronx.
“The terrible fire on Breezy Point is now under control, but we believe we lost more than 80 houses. The search and recovery operations there are ongoing. If any of you saw the pictures on television it looked like a forest fire out in the Midwest. The winds were just devastating, blowing from one building to the next one, and those buildings were close together,” Bloomberg said.
Ten deaths have been reported in New York City.
“In addition to the lives we lost, the damage we suffered across the city is clearly extensive – and it will not be repaired overnight. The two biggest challenges facing our city going forward are getting our mass transit system up and running and restoring power,” the mayor said.
The most recent report has approximately three-quarters of a million New Yorkers without power, Bloomberg said. “There are something like 326 buildings in 59 public housing developments without power. That’s about 60,000 people in more than 26,000 apartments. And many of them are in Zone A.”
The mayor reported extensive flooding in all under-river subway tunnels.
“All major airports serving the metro area are closed today. Runways are flooded and there are no flights leaving or arriving. How much damage was done to the navigation equipment and lighting around them we don’t know yet,” Bloomberg said.
According to the mayor, the city has already received close to 4,000 tree service requests for damaged or fallen trees – the majority are in Queens.
The mayor closed today’s speech by stressing the biggest challenges facing the city going forward will be getting the transit system and power grid running again.
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