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Power outages, fuel scarcity slow Sandy recovery

While the New York City government has scrambled to project the image of a city well on its way to recovery from Sandy, residents are facing a gasoline shortage and power outages projected to last through next weekend.

A closed gas pump near New York City (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Hurrikan Sandy Rückkehr zur Normalität

Residents in the New York City area awoke Friday to powerless homes and the prospect of a massive fuel shortage at the gas pumps after days of long lines at the filling stations.

The gasoline shortage appears to have compounded an already prevailing sense of tension in the US metropolis. In one incident, a man allegedly threatened another driver with a gun as he attempted to force his way to the front of a line at a gas station.

Power outages across the New York metropolitan area have also added to residents' uneasiness. An East Village resident told the Reuters news agency that the lack of power is undermining safety in the local neighborhoods.

"I walked home from 91st Street last night and it's scary once you get below the black-out zone," Tara Hohenberger said.

According to the power company conEdison's website on Friday, it was trying to restore electricity to the estimated 600,000 homes affected by the storm.

Some people staying positive

Despite the level of uneasiness overshadowing attempts at recover, some people reportedly have been coming together with neighbors in the aftermath to keep up morale, according to a local lawyer who spoke to the news agency AFP.

"We're sticking together. In our building we had a party last night. We had a grill on the roof and we cooked the meat that was going to go bad and drank the beer that was going to go [bad]," lawyer Christine Harman told AFP. Harman lives in a New Jersey community across the river from New York City.

The city government has been working quickly to restore the city to its normal pace for its estimated eight million residents.

The New York City subway began running on Thursday with limited service, partially alleviating a mass transit problem that had caused massive gridlock in a city already accustomed to bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Late last week, the storm hit Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba, causing widespread damage and killing dozens. After gaining strength while travelling up the east coast of the US, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on Monday. The storm, which had increased to a nearly 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) in diameter, flooded the New Jersey and New York area, destroying residences along the seaboard and crippling New York's mass transit system. Nearly 100 people have been reported dead across the 15 states affected by the storm.

The state of emergency caused by the superstorm coincided with the lead up to the US presidential election. President Barack Obama temporarily suspended his campaign to visit the affected areas during the week, winning praise from New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie for his handling of the disaster. New York's Independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also since endorsed the president in light of his environmental policies.

kms/pfd (Reuters, AFP)