Obama, Christie to View NJ Damage

Posted October 31st, 2012 at 1:15 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama will visit the storm-battered state of New Jersey Wednesday as residents struggle to recover from one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit the region.

Mr. Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — a Democrat and Republican normally at odds with one another — are expected to view the damage together and thank emergency workers for their efforts. On Tuesday Christie praised the Obama administration for what he said is an “outstanding” response to the powerful storm, Sandy.

A vast army of rescue and utility workers are now confronting the wreckage from Sandy, which has killed at least 45 people in North America. The storm hit the New Jersey shore late Monday as a powerful tropical storm, causing massive flooding, raging fires and power outages that crippled the New York metropolitan area.

The president has declared “major disasters” in New York and New Jersey, freeing up federal funds aimed at offsetting billions of dollars in East Coast property damage.

Major transportation routes in New York City are still closed or only partially open. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that the city faces days, if not weeks, of storm recovery challenges.

Trading at the New York Stock Exchange is expected to reopen Wednesday, after being closed Monday and Tuesday — the first time since 1888 that trading has been suspended two days in a row because of weather.

Other U.S. cities along the Eastern Seaboard, including Washington, were also left partly paralyzed Tuesday, with public transit systems suspended, airports closed and millions of people forced to stay home from work for a second day.

Meanwhile, unseasonably powerful blizzards struck in the mountains further inland. In all, the storm spanned some 1,500 kilometers.

The storm killed at least 65 people in the Caribbean last week before moving toward the United States.