East Coast Slogs Along; Food, Gas in Short Supply

November 02, 2012

The U.S. East Coast is still trying to get back to business after getting slammed by superstorm Sandy, but it is still anything but business as usual.

Residents hoping to get to work got in their cars very early Friday morning, with New York City's subways and buses still operating on limited schedules.

For some, even being able to get the car moving was a victory. Betty Bethea in nearby Newark, New Jersey spent much of Thursday trying to find someplace to gas-up her car.

"It's terrible. You can't even get there. The police have blocked everything off," Bethea lamented. "You cannot get no gas. Everywhere I went the police said 'no gas.' So I come down here and I've been in line over two hours. He said two hours, I've been here almost three hours."

And it could be days before the fuel-crunch eases.

The American Automobile Association says about 60 percent of gas stations in New Jersey and about 70 percent of those on New York's Long Island are closed. Many gas stations are unable to operate because they still do not have power.

Basic necessities

For others across the New York area, the concerns are much more basic. New York City's Stephanie Laureano was one of hundreds of city residents waiting in line Thursday for supplies.

"We have no water at all, no electricity, all the food we had to throw out of the refrigerator, so this is very needed right now," said Laureano.

Police say at least 59 people were killed as Sandy pummeled New York City and New Jersey. Overall, officials now say more than 90 people died when Sandy slammed into the U.S. East Coast.
NY Marathon on

​​Despite continued power outages and ongoing clean-ups in flood- and fire-ravaged neighborhoods, New York City officials are promising to carry on with Sunday's annual, world-famous marathon.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says there is no reason to put it off.

"By Sunday we'll have electricity back downtown, that will free up an enormous number of police," said the mayor. "Also, a lot of the transportation needs that we have during the week aren't there on the weekends."

Bloomberg and other officials are also expressing hope that the marathon can help give the city a needed economic boost. Event organizers say the marathon will bring $340 million to the city.

Preliminary estimates have put the total cost of the storm for the East Coast at between $20 and $50 billion. And each day businesses remain closed reduces the region's economic output by about $200 million a day.

Still, the decision to run the marathon is generating controversy. New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is among those worried about the marathon's impact on recovery efforts.

"My concern is just to make sure our first responders can be available to continue to help with the recovery," said the senator.

New York Road Runners Chairman George Hirsch was more optimistic.

"I think on Sunday afternoon people are going to look at this marathon and say 'I'm glad that they did it.' It was a risky political decision for the mayor, but I think either way, I think if he had cancelled the marathon, there would have been a controversy," Hirsch said. "There's no question in my mind: how can you take away New York's single most exciting day?"

Cleanup effort

In the meantime, emergency workers are pumping out flooded tunnels and buildings as the city and its suburbs struggle to recover. To avoid traffic gridlock, cars with fewer than three people inside are not allowed into the city.

In addition to the deaths in the United States, Sandy claimed 65 lives in the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica.

Sandy disrupted life across much of the Atlantic seaboard, bringing power outages and floods to coastal cities and heavy snow to the mountains.

Areas devastated by Sandy need volunteers and donations. Here's how you can help:


NYC Mayor's Office:

New Jersey relief:
Contact: 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397) or 609-775-5236 and 908-303-0471


Community Food Bank of New Jersey:
Contact: (908) 355- FOOD (3663), ext. 243

NYC Mayor's Fund:

American Red Cross:

Contact: 1-800-RED-CROSS or 1-800-733-2767
Texting: REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10

Food Bank for New York City:

Texting: FBNYC to 50555

Habitat for Humanity:

Contact: 1-800-HABITAT (422-4828)

Facebook Restore the Shore Project:

Humane Society of the United States:

Contact: 866-242-1877
Texting: HUMANE to 80888

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