HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New Jersey National Guard is in Hoboken helping residents of the heavily flooded city on the Hudson River, delivering ready-to-eat meals and evacuating the city.
About a quarter of the mile-square city remains flooded two days after superstorm Sandy struck.
Some streets in the city still look like lakes, leaving thousands holed up in their brownstones, condos, and other housing.
“We will make it through this together,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “All our emergency personnel and volunteers have been working so hard under the most extreme circumstances to keep our community safe.”
1010 WINS’ John Montone
Tempers flared Wednesday at a staging area outside City Hall, where a man screamed at emergency officials about why food and water had not been delivered to residents just a few blocks away. The man said he blew up an air mattress to float over to a staging area.
City officials defended their response.
“The dimension and scope of this situation is enormous,” Public Safety Director Jon Tooke said. “You have emergency operations at all levels – from local to federal – spread too thin across the city and the state, but we’re working on it.”
Tooke said the estimated 20,000 people still stranded in their homes were being encouraged to shelter in place, and that high-water vehicles would get supplies to them. He said people with medical and other special needs were being taken out by trucks.
National Guard troops arrived Tuesday night, and on Wednesday city officials were issuing an appeal for additional aid.
Payloaders have been used to get people out for medical emergencies but the streets are so narrow they can get stuck, the mayor’s spokesman Juan Melli said.
The city is asking people with generators and boats to bring them to city hall, which is on dry ground and powered by a backup generator.
With a lack of mass transit, many people determined to get to work waited in long lines for ferry tickets at the 14th Street pier Wednesday morning.
“I’m going to have to take the ferry, it’s the only way to get there,” one man said. “Instead of having to take a $50 cab ride to the city it’s easier to go this way.”
Cabs were offering trips through the Lincoln Tunnel for $40 plus the toll, 1010 WINS’ John Montone reported.
Dozens of volunteers answered the call to help go door-to-door to see if seniors and others needed water or other supplies.
Walking around Hoboken Wednesday afternoon, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney found destroyed cars whether they were left in parking garages or on the streets when Sandy hit.
“There’s cars stacked up three on top of each other,” said one man who went to check on his car in a garage.
WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports
Another man who parked on the street said the inside was badly flooded, leaving an apparent water line.
“To the bottom of the window. You can see the water line across the street,” Sal DiMaio told Putney.
One woman who finally made it back to her apartment needed neighbors to help push in her water-warped door.
Others said they can live with the destruction, realizing the toll could have been much worse.
“Besides the cabin fever, we’re ok,” one woman told Putney.
At one condo building where power was out, residents decided to celebrate Halloween on Wednesday afternoon, sending children door-to-door in their costumes.
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