Sandy leaves dozens dead and millions still without power

A tree entwined with power lines
A tree entwined with power lines Photo: Reuters

At least 50 people have been killed, including at least 18 people in New York City, and millions are still without power as storm Sandy caused widespread destruction and devastation after striking the US east coast.

High winds, heavy rain and severe flooding swamped New York, including the city's public transport network and Manhattan's Wall Street district - which reopened today.

 A largely unlit downtown Manhattan stands under a night sky due to a power blackout caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York.
A largely unlit downtown Manhattan stands under a night sky due to a power blackout caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York. Credit: Reuters

Businesses and homes along New Jersey's shore were wrecked and communities were submerged under floodwater throughout most of Tuesday.

More than eight million homes and businesses in several states were without electricity as trees toppled by Sandy's fierce winds took down power lines.

Patrons drink at a bar and use only candlelight in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York.
Patrons drink at a bar and use only candlelight in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York. Credit: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

President Obama declared the events a "major disaster" and he will travel to New Jersey today to assess the damage caused by the storm.

Some reports suggest Manhattan could be without power for a week.

ITV News Reporter Damon Green reports:

However, meteorologists in the States have said that flooding from the storm surge plaguing low-lying parts of the New York should recede over the coming hours.

Some transport services are beginning to get back to normal with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey confirming that the John F. Kennedy International Airport opened at 0700 EDT (1100 GMT) on Wednesday with limited service.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Obama visited the headquarters of the American Red Cross and said the federal government will do all it can to provide resources to local authorities in areas most affected by the storm.

Three towns in the state, Little Ferry, Moonachie and Carlstadt, were submerged with up to five feet of water after the nearby Hackensack River flooded, officials said.

Emergency personnel rescue a resident from flood waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy in Little Ferry,
Emergency personnel rescue a resident from flood waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy in Little Ferry, Credit: Reuters

New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie said its transit system has experienced "unprecedented devastation.

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The NJ_TRANSIT system has experienced unprecedented devastation. Service will not resume until it's repaired, safe, & secure. #Sandy

Mr Obama's presidential challenger Mitt Romney converted a rally into a storm relief event in Ohio.

US Republican presidential nominee Romney accepts relief supplies for people affected by the storm in Kettering, Ohio
US Republican presidential nominee Romney accepts relief supplies for people affected by the storm in Kettering, Ohio Credit: Brian Snyder / Reuters

Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at least 10 people had been killed in the area and that "tragically we expect that number to go up".

Travel between Britain and New York remains affected after British Airways and Virgin Atlantic were forced to cancel all their flights.

However, Virgin flights from Heathrow to JFK Airport in New York have resumed with a limited service.

A British Airways spokesperson said the airline was planning on resuming its services to New York and Newark later today.

Thousands of British holidaymakers are still stranded because of the superstorm.

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Flights might be a week later than they were meant to be. Verrrrry unhappy. @virginatlantic #sandy #stranded

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All flights tomorrow cancelled. Apparently earliest flight I can book on now is Thursday! Eek ?

London Mayor Boris Johnson praised the "extremely well" prepared New York authorities for their response to Sandy.

Looking at the news at the moment it has been quite an appalling story.

They took it very, very seriously and I think, had they not taken it so seriously, the consequences might have been even worse. I do think, as far as I'm able to tell, the New York authorities have prepared extremely well.

– Boris Johnson, London Mayor

In a night of widespread chaos across New York, more than 190 firefighters tackled a huge blaze that destroyed 50 homes in Breezy Point, Queens.

Two people reportedly suffered minor injuries. The cause of the fire is unknown.

A New York City hospital had to evacuate more than 200 patients, including 20 babies from the neonatal intensive care unit, after a backup generator failed.

Dozens of ambulances lined up outside New York University Tisch Hospital as doctors and nurses began the evacuation.

superstorm sandy New York Manhattan
Ambulances line First Avenue in anticipation of patients being evacuated from a hospital. Credit: Andrew Kelly / Reuters

A crane also partially collapsed and dangled precariously from a 90-story luxury apartment building under construction in Manhattan.

superstorm sandy New York Manhattan
A partially collapsed crane hangs from a high-rise building in Manhattan yesterday. Credit: Brendan McDermid / Reuters

66 people were killed in the Caribbean last week.

The storm - which dropped just below hurricane status when it hit landfall on Monday evening - was heading westward over Pennsylvania with winds as strong as 65 miles per hour, the National Weather Service said.

superstorm sandy New York Manhattan
Satellite view of Sandy striking US East Coast. Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project

Wind, rain and flooding are likely to continue today but without the same power as before.