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New York counts cost of Sandy’s wrath

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New York - Superstorm Sandy ran up a super bill of $19-billion as it tore through New York City, the mayor said on Monday in an appeal for extra federal funds.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said America's biggest city “will struggle to recover in the long term unless expedited federal funding is supplied”.

The October 29 hurricane flooded the subway train system, damaged tens of thousands of houses in the New York area, knocked out electricity in vast sections of the city for days, and prompted severe fuel shortages.

Among the storm's prominent victims was the Statue of Liberty, which had only just re-opened after a year's refurbishments and is now to be closed again for at least the remainder of 2012.

The National Park Service said on its website that “a projected re-opening date has not yet been established”.

According to the mayor, the net repair bill from the hurricane-strength storm falls to $9.8-billion once private insurance and already pledged Federal Emergency Management Agency aid are factored in.

But “federal legislative action will be required to address the budget gap that will result once available FEMA funds and insurance proceeds are drawn down”, he said.

“This funding will be needed to address the significant local expenses that have been and will be incurred, including costs that are ineligible under FEMA such as hazard mitigation, long-term housing solutions, and shoreline restoration and protection.” - Sapa-AFP

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