Bloomberg compares Sandy to Katrina

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Cuomo and Bloomberg. ()
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning compared the number of New Yorkers made homeless by superstorm Sandy to Hurricane Katrina.

According to Bloomberg, some 30,000 to 40,000 New York City residents will need a place to stay while the city rebuilds, temperatures fall, and the region braces for this week's nor'easter.

In part that's because some of the city's public housing developments have been badly damaged and will be out of service, in Bloomberg's words, "for a very long time."

"My recollection is the numbers may have been the same in Katrina," said Bloomberg, who joined Governor Andrew Cuomo in a rare joint appearance in Manhattan this morning.

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(The numbers from Katrina were actually much larger.)

As of this morning, 730,000 people remain without power, including 266,000 in Nassau County, and 145,000 in New York City, including 86,000 in Queens, 20,000 in Brooklyn and 20,000 in Staten Island.

"We have much, much more work to do," said Cuomo.

The M.T.A. continues to make progress restoring subway service. Right now, the 2,3,4, and 5 trains are running beneath the East River, the D and J trains are running over the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, and the South Ferry subway station, which the governor said recently looked like a "large fish tank," has been drained.

Subway service, warned Cuomo, "will not be normal tomorrow," thanks to the gas shortage, which will force drivers into the system, the reopening of schools, and the a bunch of lingering mechanical difficulties. "We are in uncharted territory here in bringing the system back," said M.T.A. chairman Joe Lhota.

The subway bridge to Rockaway remains impassable, but the M.T.A. plans to truck subway cars out to Rockaway, and run a shuttle along the peninsula, with bus service to the mainland.

The fuel shortage, meanwhile, persists.

Cuomo described it as a "short-term problem," and then defined "short-term" as "a number of days."

"Now is not the time to be using the car if you don't need to," he said. "Now is not the time to be hoarding fuel."

So far, 86,000 households have registered for FEMA assistance, and some $97 million has been transferred into those accounts, according to FEMA administrator Craig Fugate.

Bloomberg strongly urged those who need shelter to seek it.

"You can die from being cold," he said. "You can die from fires started when you use candles or stoves to heat your apartment. Please go to the local disaster site."