Last updated: November 26, 2012 8:57 pm

NY losses from Sandy hit $42bn

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Superstorm Sandy will cost New York state almost $42bn in rebuilding and prevention expenses, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, as state and city officials made a plea for federal aid to help restore the region.

Mr Cuomo said the state faces $32.8bn in repair and response costs and $9.1bn in mitigation expenses.

“The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy is of unprecedented proportions, ranking among the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history in terms of loss of life, property damage, and economic impact,” he said.

Monday’s figure was higher than the $30bn federal appropriation Mr Cuomo said he would seek to help the state recover earlier this month.

“Supplemental appropriation is going to be critical. This state has suffered mightily and we need federal assistance to bring these communities back. Taxpayers of New York cannot shoulder this burden,” he said.

New York is still recovering nearly a month after Sandy blasted the northeastern US coast with record floods and winds, cutting off water and power supplies, destroying homes and offices and displacing tens of thousands of residents.

State statistics show 305,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed, 2.2m residents lost power and 265,300 private businesses were affected by the storm.

Housing recovery expenses are estimated at $9.7bn while the cost to repair the state’s transit system, roads and bridges is $7.3bn, Mr Cuomo’s figures showed.

The $9bn in prevention charges includes flood protection measures for the World Trade Center site and vulnerable road and subway tunnels, power to keep the fuel supply system running and back-up power for healthcare facilities.

The storm inflicted $19bn in damages on New York City alone, including $5.7bn in economic losses, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said earlier on Monday in a letter to the state’s congressional delegation.

Mr Bloomberg estimated the storm caused $8.6bn in damages to individuals and private businesses – $3.8bn of which will be covered by private insurance – and cost city agencies $4.5bn.

The city is requesting $9.8bn, as part of the wider state appeal, to make up for uninsured losses and those not covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It expects $5.4bn in automatic reimbursements from Fema.

“The city will struggle to recover in the long term unless expedited federal funding is supplied,” Mr Bloomberg said. “Whether it was a small retail store in Coney Island that lost its inventory in a flood or a restaurant in Staten Island forced to close due to a loss of power . . . These businesses are crucial to the City’s economy.”

Mr Bloomberg will meet members of the delegation in Washington on Wednesday to discuss the request.

Congress has in the past helped secure additional funds to aid states’ responses to natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, including bills passed in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina that ensured $120bn in aid.

President Barack Obama committed federal resources to storm recovery, helping local authorities provide quick relief – from clean-up to temporary housing – to those worst hit.

But Charles Schumer, New York senator, said the state faces a tough task ahead.

“Make no mistake, this will not be an easy task, particularly given the impending fiscal cliff, and a congress that has been much less friendly to disaster relief than in the past. This will be an effort that lasts not weeks, but many months,” he said.

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