New York woke up in shock on Tuesday to a city ravaged by deadly superstorm Sandy, which threatened to leave days of chaos in its wake.
A record tidal surge thrown up by the hurricane set off an explosion at a power station, fire destroyed dozens of homes in the Queens district and a major hospital had to evacuate more than 200 patients at the height of the storm.
Subway trains and bus routes were shut down for a third day as hundreds of thousands of homes face up to a week without electricity, according to the power company.
New York’s stock exchange stayed closed for a second day.
Smoke lingered over many streets after a huge fire tore through 50 homes in the Breezy Point district of Queens.
Firemen in boats rescued about 25 people trapped by fire. The homes were left a tangled mess of wood and metal.
A spectacular explosion at a Manhattan electricity sub-station at the peak of the storm cut power to 193 000 homes on the island.
About 300 000 other homes in New York lost electricity as Sandy tore down trees and flooded power transmission facilities.
Con Edison electricity company spokesperson Alfonso Quiroz said “Don’t be surprised if it takes a week” to get power back.
Many roads remained blocked by trees, and road tunnels were inundated by floodwaters that slowly receded after the city was battered.
Bridges off Manhattan were only open to emergency services.
Some subway stations had water above platform level and it was expected to be several days before trains were fully operational again.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) president Joseph Lhota said the New York subway “has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night (Monday night)”.
Police and ambulance sirens dominated the diminished morning traffic. Pedestrians had to avoid trees torn up by the wind gusts of up to 150km/h that hit the city late on Monday.
The streets of Lower Manhattan were pitch black until the sun rose. But the power cuts left giant apartment blocks without elevator service.
US President Barack Obama declared that megastorm Sandy had triggered “major disaster” in the states of New York and New Jersey and freed up federal aid for those who lost homes or businesses.
The declaration came after the massive storm battered the US East Coast, flooding lower Manhattan and coastal New Jersey .
Millions of people across the densely populated eastern seaboard were left without power.
The death toll from the superstorm rose to 30 in the mainland United States and Canada, and was expected to climb further as several people were still missing, officials said on Tuesday.
Deaths were reported by officials in the states of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina from the massive storm system.
Toronto police said a Canadian woman was killed by flying debris.
So far, at least 67 people were killed. This includes a US national in Puerto Rico – as it swept through the Caribbean over the past few days, meaning the overall toll from the storm is now approaching 100.
Source : Sapa/AFP
Edited : Yusuf Alli