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Sandy's Effects Linger Nearly A Week After Storm

Gas customers on foot with portable containers and lines of vehicles wait for gas pumps to open at a service station on Saturday in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that resolving gas shortages could take days.
Gas customers on foot with portable containers and lines of vehicles wait for gas pumps to open at a service station on Saturday in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that resolving gas shortages could take days.

Here's what's happening today in the New York-New Jersey area, nearly a week after Superstorm Sandy devastated the region:

-- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said tens of thousands of people whose houses were damaged by the storm will need other places to live because of the falling temperatures.

-- Cuomo also said he expects the fuel shortage that we reported about on Saturday will continue for days. The governor called it a short-term problem, but couldn't say when the shortage will end.

-- The Associated Press is reporting on the impact of Sandy on the region's elderly population. "Some say life experiences temper their ability to cope with the destruction, while others note that the stress of no electricity, displacement from their homes and upheaval from routines is taking a toll," the AP says.

-- The New York Marathon may have been canceled, but as NPR's Scott Montgomery reports, many of those due to run in the marathon are instead running for storm relief.

Update at 3:44 p.m. EDT Elections

New Jersey is adjusting its election rules to accommodate voters affected by Sandy. WNYC's Anna Sale reports that some voters will be allowed to cast ballots by email.

Here's her report:

"The measure is aimed at displaced voters and first responders who have had to leave their counties – or even the state. They can apply for a ballot by emailing their local county clerks office, but it's not as simple as clicking their choices and sending it back. Voters have to print the ballot and then fax it or scan it back.

The state also announced that displaced voters who can't make it to their home polling places can cast a provisional ballot anywhere in the state.

Any New Jersey voter can vote early through Monday, after the state ordered county clerks and local election offices to stay open through the weekend.

Election officials are continuing to assess how many polling places will have to be moved because of power outages or structural damage. In some cases, voters may have to cast ballots tents erected for the day."

NPR's Allison Keyes is reporting for our Newscast Unit that New York City officials are saying that tens of thousands will need housing in the wake of the storm, some for the long term.

"People don't like to leave their homes but the reality is going to be in the temperature," Cuomo said.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city will have to find housing for between 30,000 and 40,000 people. He also urged those without heat to move to warming shelters opened by the city.

"Please, I know sometimes people are reticent to take advantage of services. The cold really is something that is dangerous," he said.

Here's more from the AP about Sandy's impact:

"Though New York and New Jersey bore the brunt of the destruction, at its peak, the storm reached 1,000 miles across, killed more than 100 people in 10 states, knocked out power to 8.5 million homes and businesses and canceled nearly 20,000 flights. Damage has been estimated $50 billion, making Sandy the second most expensive storm in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina.

More than 900,000 homes and businesses in New Jersey were still without electricity."

NPR's Martin Kaste reported a 1.5-mile line at the one gas station in Bayonne, N.K., that still had gas. The wait was as long as six hours, he said.

"The line is traffic," he said. "It is the only real traffic on that street."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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  • NPR's Margot Adler has been covering the storms aftermath. On Saturday, she walked into Central Park, opened for the first time since before the storm. She then went to examine the "border areas," those blocks where there was power and normalcy on one side, and on the other, no lights and just the noise of a few generators pumping power.
  • As New York City's first responders begin to show fatigue, and in many cases deal with losses of their own homes, replacement crews of firefighters are getting ready to roll into Manhattan and Long Island. Among them are a group of firefighters from a small rural fire station in the mountains of upstate New York.
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