Superstorm Sandy: US faces petrol shortage, transport woes

Three days after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the US East Coast, millions of Americans are now confronted with gas shortages.

Updated: Nov 02, 2012, 08:26 AM IST

Washington: Three days after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the US East Coast, hitting New Jersey and New York the hardest, millions of Americans are now confronted with gas shortages and an overwhelmed mass transit system.

With over six million homes still without power as far west as Wisconsin in the Midwest and as far south as the Carolinas, motorists in New Jersey, the hardest hit state, roamed for hours looking for a working petrol pump that still had petrol, the ABC reported.

The disaster has been blamed for 74 deaths in the US, including 24 in New York City, eight in New Jersey and four in Connecticut, as rescue workers pulled bodies from wreckage across the region, the channel said.

Those with gas who had to commute into New York City encountered a major traffic jam at the Lincoln Tunnel, one of the only two entrances to the city from New Jersey that hadn`t been closed down because of damage from Sandy, ABC said.

The city`s roads were gridlocked on Wednesday as commuters were forced to travel above ground, which turned Manhattan`s streets into parking lots -- a telling sign of just how badly the city needs its mass transit system back.

One commuter was quoted as saying: "The traffic was terrible, man. It takes about 45 minutes to go four blocks. Horrible."

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people along the New Jersey shore are facing months and possibly years of rebuilding, CBS News reported, saying the storm had transformed vibrant coastal communities into beachfronts that look more like shipwrecks.

A string of natural gas fires broke out, but officials said no one was hurt. In some spots, residents were still waiting for floodwaters to recede.

"This is our home. We`ve been here for years," one New Jersey man told New York CBS station WCBS. "We clean up, we get everything back to normal and we go on."

In New Jersey, 1.8 million customers remain without power, down from a peak of 2.7 million. Utility companies say it will be a week before most of that power is back. Some outages could linger longer than that.