Lines formed at petrol stations amid fuel shortages in the US northeast and emergency utility crews struggled to reach the worst hit areas and restore power to millions of people.
At least 82 people in North America died in the superstorm, which ravaged the northeast on Monday night, and officials said the count could rise as rescuers searched house-to- house in coastal towns.
More deaths were recorded overnight as the extent of destruction became clearer in the New York City borough of Staten Island, where the storm lifted whole houses off their foundations.
Authorities recovered 15 bodies from Staten Island. Among those still missing were two boys, aged 4 and 2, who were swept from their mother’s arms by the floodwaters, the New York Post reported. In all, 34 people died in New York City.
In New Jersey the death toll doubled to 12.
New Jersey’s favourite son Bruce Springsteen, along with Jon Bon Jovi and Sting, will headline a benefit concert for storm victims tonight on NBC television, the network announced.
Sandy started as a late-season hurricane in the Caribbean, where it killed 69 people, before smashing ashore in the United States with 80 mph winds.
About 4.7 million homes and businesses in 15 US states were still without power, down from a high of nearly 8.5 million, which surpassed the record 8.4 million customers who went dark from last year’s Hurricane Irene.
President Barack Obama viewed flooded and sand- swept New Jersey communities on a helicopter tour of the state with Republican Governor Chris Christie on Wednesday.
“The entire country’s been watching. Everyone knows how hard Jersey has been hit,” Obama told people at an evacuation shelter in the town of Brigantine.
Back on the campaign trail, Obama received the endorsement of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday, who cited the need to address climate change as the reason for his support. The mayor was Republican until 2007 when he turned independent.
“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief,” the mayor wrote in a piece for Bloomberg News.