According to the latest estimates given by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Hurricane Sandy has left 30,000 to 40,000 people without usable houses and 145,000 without power in that metropolis alone.
A total of 730,000 throughout New York State are without power, as are around one million in New Jersey – a serious problem given that near-freezing temperatures are expected by the middle of next week.
Sandy pummeled 15 states with gale force winds and a tidal surge that has left at least 113 people dead in the United States and an additional 69 dead in the Caribbean.
In New York, the poorer parts of the city, including the Rockaway and Staten Island districts, have been the worst hit.
In a press conference last weekend, Bloomberg said that in contrast to Hurricane Katrina, where tens of thousands fled and found shelter elsewhere, challenges faced by the city have been exacerbated by the large portion of people who stayed.
”I don’t know that anybody has ever taken this number of people and found housing overnight,” he said.
New York state governor Andrew Cuomo says the magnitude of the housing problem cannot be understated.
“It is starting to get cold, people are in homes that are uninhabitable,” Cuomo says. “We are going to have tens of thousands of people who need housing solutions right away. This is going to be a massive, massive housing problem”.
For now, the city is encouraging people to go to evacuation centres and is putting on special buses to enable this.
Outside of New York, the next worst hit area was New Jersey, where at least one million people are without power.