In a joint appearance with Governor Chris Christie, President Obama promised victims of Sandy that “We are here for you and we will not forget.”
“We will follow up to make sure you get all the help you need until you rebuild,” the president said in Brigantine, New Jersey, after meeting with rescue workers and residents.
“Our biggest priority right now is getting power turned back on,” he said.
Obama reciprocated, saying, “I think the people of New Jersey recognize that [Christie] has put his heart and soul into making sure that the people of New Jersey bounce back even stronger than before. I want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership and partnership.”
We’re going to wrap up our live blog coverage of the Sandy recovery effort for the day. Here’s a summary of where things stand:
• The death toll from Sandy rose to 58 in the United States and 71 across the Caribbean. 30 died in New York City, according to the mayor.
• The National Guard continues to evacuate residents in Hoboken, New Jersey. As many as 20,000 were trapped in their homes as of this morning. Search and rescue work was ongoing on the Rockaway peninsula in Queens.
• President Obama surveyed damage to the New Jersey coastline with Governor Chris Christie. The president promised residents that they would face a minimum of red tape in seeking disaster relief and that the federal government would follow up to make sure states had the necessary aid.
• An estimated 6 million are without power across the country. Just under 2 million lack power in New York state. In New York City the figure was 643,000.
• Evacuation orders remain in place in New York City, meaning an estimated 375,000 residents, including inhabitants of dozens of public housing towers, were officially barred from returning home. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the buildings are being inspected.
• More than two feet of snow fell in the mountains of West Virginia, trapping some residents in their homes and making roads impassible.
• Transportation infrastructure and public institutions in New York City began to come back online. Resumptions announced for Thursday morning included: partial subway service; La Guardia airport traffic; Broadway shows; the United Nations. Resumptions announced for Friday included limited Amtrak service. For comprehensive transit information visit the WNYC transit tracker.
• Emergency crews continued to pump water from tunnels under the East River and from subway stations in lower Manhattan.
• Schools are to remain closed in New York for the rest of the week. Subway service into and from downtown Manhattan also is shut down. An estimated 230,000 Manhattan residents remained without power. A potentially greater number lacked steam heat. Those utilities were expected to come back online by the weekend.
• Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan was evacuated.
• In an effort to avoid the traffic gridlock that ruled the day in Manhattan, the mayor and governor imposed a ban on low-occupancy passenger cars for most tunnels and bridges. Today some 5.5m extra riders attempted to take the bus, in addition to the regular 2.3 passengers.
• The New York Stock Exchange re-opened, powered by backup generator. Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a thumbs-up and rang the opening bell to whoops from traders on the floor. (The Guardian)