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Frustrations mount as New York battles Sandy recovery

People wait in line to buy gas at a station at Union City, New Jersey. Photo: Reuters

Efforts to clean-up New York following the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy have been marred by petrol shortages, which led to led to long queues and panic buying, while Mayor Mike Bloomberg finally bowed to calls to cancel the city's annual marathon.

The fuel shortages prompted Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York State, to temporarily lift tax and registration requirements on tankers docking in the New York Harbor, which had just reopened to oil vessels.

As relief efforts continued across the state, Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference to confirm that Sunday's marathon, which attracts around 40,000 runners from around the world, would go ahead to boost morale in the city. He said that the event would not divert emergency resources from those affected by the Superstorm.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg reversed his initial decision to proceed with Sunday's marathon. Credit: PA

However, he later bowed to pressure to call-off the marathon:

We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.

We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event -- even one as meaningful as this -- to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track.

– Mayor Mike Bloomberg

A "million meal" food drop initiative by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the US National Guards went ahead on Thursday and Friday as more than 2.7 million homes across New York and New Jersey remained without power.

State power company Con Edison handed out bags of dry ice to long queues of people in Union Square and confirmed that it had managed to restore power to 67,000 homes in New York today.

People queue for a bag of dry ice in Union Square in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in New York. Credit: Reuters

Some neighbourhoods were hit by looters and Queens residents in the Broad Channel area of the neighbourhood complained that they were "the forgotten community", while others placed warning signs outside their homes that looters would be shot.

A warning sign outside a home in Long Beach, New York. Credit: Reuters

A star-studded fundraising telethon was planned for Friday evening, with new York and New Jersey stars including as Mary J. Blige, Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi lending their support.

Mayor Bloomberg announced that his Sandy relief fund had reached $10 million (£6.2 million), and appealed for more donations.

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