Sandy costs top $42 bn in New York state: governor 28 ноября 2012, 13:00
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Sandy costs top $42 bn in New York state: governor
Superstorm Sandy ran up a super bill of $42 billion across New York state, causing more damage than infamous Hurricane Katrina, appealing for federal emergency funds, AFP reports according to the Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo told a news conference that Sandy's impact had by some measures been worse than Katrina, which caused devastation along the US Gulf Coast in 2005.
Though Katrina's death toll at 1,833 was far higher than the approximately 110 killed during last month's hurricane-strength Sandy, the damage to property and businesses was worse this time round, the New York governor said.
The total bill in New York and neighboring New Jersey was "62, 61 billion dollars," Cuomo estimated, though that number seemed sure to rise when including extra funds needed for protection against future storms.
In New York state alone, Cuomo said the total cost of recovery work came to $32.8 billion, with another $9.1 billion in prevention expenses.
Footing that bill would "incapacitate" New York's budget, Cuomo said, urging Washington to come to the rescue with massive federal aid.
It will also be a challenge for Washington, where Congressional leaders and President Barack Obama locked in negotiations over possible budget cuts and tax increases as part of a plan to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.
"Make no mistake, this will not be an easy task, particularly given the impending fiscal cliff, and a Congress that has been much less friendly to disaster relief than in the past," said Senator Charles Schumer, who represents New York.
The state's other senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, said the "federal government has a clear responsibility to commit all of the necessary resources to help us rebuild." But she also noted: "This will not be an easy fight."
Earlier, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said America's biggest city had itself suffered $19 billion in Sandy-related costs.
The Big Apple "will struggle to recover in the long term unless expedited federal funding is supplied," Bloomberg said.
The October 29 hurricane flooded the subway train system, damaged tens of thousands of houses in the New York area, knocked out electricity in swaths of the city for days, and prompted severe fuel shortages.
Among the storm's prominent victims was the iconic Statue of Liberty, which had only just reopened after a year's refurbishments and is now to be closed again for at least the remainder of 2012.
The National Park Service said on its website that "a projected reopening date has not yet been established."
According to the mayor, the net repair bill from the storm falls to $9.8 billion once private insurance and already pledged Federal Emergency Management Agency aid are factored in.
But "federal legislative action will be required to address the budget gap that will result once available FEMA funds and insurance proceeds are drawn down," he said.
"This funding will be needed to address the significant local expenses that have been and will be incurred, including costs that are ineligible under FEMA such as hazard mitigation, long-term housing solutions, and shoreline restoration and protection."