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Fuel Shortage, Cold Weather Hamper US East Coast Recovery


Gas customers on foot with portable containers and lines of vehicles wait for gas pumps to open at a service station, November 3, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Gas customers on foot with portable containers and lines of vehicles wait for gas pumps to open at a service station, November 3, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

There is no New York Marathon today. It was called off late Friday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But there are severe fuel shortages and cold temperatures hampering recovery from Superstorm Sandy that hit the northeastern United States last week.

Two-and-one-half-million homes lack electricity, and people are running out of gasoline to run their cars and home generators. Lines at many gas stations are as long as two kilometers.

Marijane Funess of Pelham, New York says lack of gas is a problem.

“Now, though, the worry is gas. And it seems so... it is such a primitive thing to be worried about l know, because we take it for granted that there will always be gas,” said Funess.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says gasoline is on its way. And, the New York City subway system, the largest in the world, is 80 percent operational.

Felice Vazquez greets a neighbor as she mans a table providing hot drinks and snacks on Washington Street as the buildings around them remain without power due to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in Hoboken, New Jersey, November 4, 2012.

Felice Vazquez greets a neighbor as she mans a table providing hot drinks and snacks on Washington Street as the buildings around them remain without power due to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in Hoboken, New Jersey, November 4, 2012.

In Hoboken, New Jersey, recovery remains slow. Tents have been set up for shelter and recharging cell phones. Across New Jersey, 600,000 people are without power. But Kathy Zavartkay of Hoboken was upbeat about how people are helping out.

“It is wonderful," she said. "People have been so great, like tonight there is... hot water for tea, snacks, soup. It has been awesome.”

With the U.S. presidential election coming Tuesday, some storm-battered polling stations in New York and New Jersey may be too damaged to open. Temporary facilities are being set up in both states. In some areas, military trucks are being brought in as temporary polling stations.

But the priority is not the vote, but the safety of the people. New York City councilman Dominic Recchia put it this way. “I do not care about election day, I care about the people right now,” he said.

And, Angela Springs, a victim of the storm, says voting is secondary. “I am not really even thinking about voting because I am trying to, you know, get myself together for what’s going to happen to my household, where I am going to be relocated," she said.

And as far as the disappointed marathon runners are concerned, many are going to areas destroyed by Superstorm Sandy to help clean up and show their support and understanding.
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