New York was forced to implement widespread petrol rationing on Friday in a bid to ease a growing fuel crisis in the wake of superstorm Sandy and Wednesday’s fierce snowstorm. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said fuel shortages could last for two weeks.
New York City drivers will wake up on Friday to the first widespread gas rationing since the fuel crisis of the 1970s, as the U.S. Northeast struggles to recover from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy and a subsequent snowstorm.
Bitter cold, rain, snow and powerful winds added to the misery of disaster victims whose homes were destroyed or power was knocked out by Sandy. The storm came ashore on Oct. 29 and caused widespread flooding, leading up to as much as $50 billion in economic losses and prompting the medical relief group Doctors Without Borders to set up its first-ever U.S. clinic.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was providing mobile homes to house those displaced by the storm, a reminder of the scramble after Hurricane Katrina seven years ago to tend to the newly homeless. Some evacuees will be put up nearly 200 miles (321 km) from home, FEMA said, because there is little available space closer to the city.
Gas, patience running out
With drivers still struggling to find adequate fuel, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday the city would begin an indefinite program of gas rationing early Friday.
It is modeled on one New Jersey implemented last week - allowing drivers to fill up on alternating days depending on their license plate number - that has reduced lines dramatically.
Bloomberg indicated that the city had little choice.
“It now appears there will be shortages for possibly another couple weeks,” Bloomberg said, later adding, “If you think about it, it’s not any great imposition once you get used to it.”
Neighboring counties would implement a similar program, he said, in an effort to cut down lines that ran for hours at local filling stations following Sandy. The city’s iconic yellow taxis are exempt from the new regulation.
New Yorkers, never known for holding their tongues, let their exasperation with the bad weather show.
“Kick in the gas,” the New York Post blared in a headline on its website, a day after its print newspaper hit the streets with the cover headline “God hates us!”
Death toll rises
COPING WITH SANDY'S AFTERMATH
Two men walk with a canoe along a flooded street in the town of Little Ferry, New Jersey. © © AFP
Photo provided by the US Coast Guard shows property damage along the New Jersey shore caused by Sandy. © © AFP
People wait in line to fill containers with fuel at a Shell gas station in Edison, New Jersey. © © AFP
President Barack Obama paid a visit to the national headquarters of the American Red Cross in Washington, DC, where he thanked staff and volunteers. © © AFP
There was costly damage to people's homes and cars all across the Northeast US. © © AFP
A main roadway in the city of Long Beach, New York was covered in sand. © © AFP
A firefighter assesses the damage in a neighborhood in the Breezy Point area of Queens, New York, where homes were devastated by floods and fires. © © AFP
A man shops for groceries by flashlight at an East Village grocery store in New York City. © © AFP
People take photos of water filling the Bowling Green subway station in Battery Park in New York City. © © AFP
“I don’t think any of us expected to see this level of lacking access to health care,” said Lucy Doyle, who specializes in internal medicine at New York’s Bellevue Hospital and has done stints with the group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. “A lot of us have said, it feels a lot like being in the field in a foreign country.”
Sandy’s death toll in the United States and Canada reached 121 after New York authorities on Wednesday reported another death linked to the storm in the Rockaways.
Date created : 2012-11-09