Cold hits victims of Sandy in New York

A victim of hurricane Sandy takes blankets from a aid distribution site in the Staten Island
A victim of hurricane Sandy takes blankets from a aid distribution site in the Staten Island Photo: Adrees Latif / Reuters

Victims of superstorm Sandy on the East Coast of America are struggling against the cold among fuel shortages and power outages.

Fuel supplies were distributed towards disaster zones and a million customers regained electricity as near-freezing temperatures descended overnight.

Victims of hurricane Sandy sit near a fire to stay warm outside their destroyed homes in Staten Island
Victims of hurricane Sandy sit near a fire to stay warm outside their destroyed homes in Staten Island Credit: REUTERS/Adrees Latif

New York Mayor Bloomberg warned the city that it would be days before power was fully restored and fuel shortages ended.

Barack Obama ordered emergency response services to cut through government "red tape" and work without delay to help ravaged areas return to normal as quickly as possible.

 A policeman lights a flare outside a church in Staten Island
A policeman lights a flare outside a church in Staten Island Credit: REUTERS/Adrees Latif

80 percent of the New York City subway has now been restored, and the power restorations have relit most of Lower Manhattan. 2.5 million homes and businesses are still without power. Power outages combined with a heating oil shortage meant some homes would be cold as unusually cool weather set in.

Mayor Bloomberg urged those without power and heat to head to shelters where they could keep warm and receive food.

"Right now it's starting to really get cold," he said.