New Jersey Governor (C) Chris Christie talks with New
Jersey National Guard cooks while they prepare food for
emergency personnel and victims of Hurricane Sandy at a
relief centre in Sea Bright, New Jersey. REUTERS/New Jersey
Governor's Office/Tim Larsen
Frustration with continuing power outages, travel chaos,
and long lines for gasoline has grown as residents of Long
Island, hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, planned to a protest
outside the headquarters of the local utility company.
Residents said they would take to the streets for a second
day outside the Long Island Power Authority in Hickville.
There are still over 400,000 customers without power nearly
two weeks after the storm, and more than 170,000 are on Long
Meanwhile, New Yorkers faced their second day of gasoline
rationing. Under the system, which was introduced in New
Jersey last week, cars with odd- and even-numbered license
plates can fill up only on alternate days.
In Far Rockaway on Saturday morning (local time), more than
500 people lined up with empty fuel cans. Word had spread
through the hard-hit seaside community Friday night that a
tanker truck carrying 8,000 gallons of free gas was to arrive
around 10am, thanks to an anonymous wealthy donor.
A New York Police Department captain, who declined to give
his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media,
said the mystery donor had arranged to have the gas sent.
"The guy didn't want his name used, but he wanted to get gas
to these people," the captain said. "Pretty decent thing to
do ... these people need it bad."
More than a quarter of gas stations in the New York
metropolitan area did not have fuel available for sale on
Friday, the same number as on Thursday, the U.S. Energy
Information Administration said.
Millions still face difficulty commuting with large crowds
waiting for trains that are still running on reduced service
after transport networks sustained major damage.
Authorities warned that for coastal communities where
thousands of homes were washed away, flooded, or burned to
the ground, full recovery would take a long time.
"This is not going to be a short journey," New York Governor
Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference on Friday.
Thousands were in temporary shelters, and in New Jersey a
tent city on the edge of Monmouth Park racetrack was home to
hundreds. Authorities in the region said they did not have
access to enough alternative housing or hotel rooms for all
those who have been displaced.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who toured the Jersey
Shore on Friday, said many popular vacation spots would not
be fully rebuilt by next summer.
"This is our Katrina," he declared, referring to the
hurricane that washed out New Orleans in 2005.
Still, homeowners were set to return to an 30km barrier
island off New Jersey's Atlantic coast on Saturday, giving
some of them their first view of the devastation wrought by
Long Beach Island, an enclave of mostly affluent vacation
homes, took a direct hit from Sandy, with some homes washed
full of sand and seawater and others completely destroyed.
The island, with about 10,000 year-round residents and
perhaps 10 times that number in the summer, has been closed
to residents except for brief visits to retrieve belongings.
Sandy smashed into the East Coast on October 29, killing at
least 120 people and causing an estimated $50 billion in
damage or economic losses. It destroyed homes along the New
Jersey Shore and around New York City, cut off electricity
for millions of people and knocked out much of the public
As homeowners were to return to Long Beach Island on
Saturday, an emergency website operated by towns on the
island warned that some areas were still without sewer, water
and electric service and the entire island was without gas.
One community, Holgate, on the island's southern tip, would
remain closed because it was still too dangerous to enter.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said New York City would work with
federal authorities to provide electricians, plumbers and
carpenters to help fix the worst-hit homes. He said he hoped
to get people back into their homes by the end of the year.