• Death Toll From Sandy Rises to 35, Causing Up to $20 Billion in Damage

    NEW YORK, Oct 30, 2012 (AFP) – The death toll from superstorm Sandy has risen to 35 in the United States and Canada, and was expected to climb further as several people remained missing, officials said Tuesday.

    Officials in the states of Connecticut, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia all reported deaths from the massive storm system, while Toronto police said a Canadian woman was killed by flying debris.

    Sandy had already killed at least 67 people — including a US national in Puerto Rico — as it swept through the Caribbean over the past few days, meaning the overall toll from the storm is now 102.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported 15 storm-related deaths in his state, including at least 10 killed when Sandy struck New York City.

    “Tragically we expect that number to go up,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned.

    Three people died in New Jersey, including two parents who were killed when a falling tree crushed their car, sparing their children aged 11 and 14 who were inside with them, Governor Chris Christie said.

    Christie added that rescue operations were still under way, with three separate teams deployed in Atlantic City, the coastal casino town near where the storm made landfall at 0000 GMT Tuesday.

    Another four people were killed in Pennsylvania, including one killed from a falling tree and another when a house collapsed, emergency management officials told AFP.

    Connecticut Emergency Management spokesman Scott Devico reported four storm-related deaths in his state. Governor Dan Malloy earlier said that one of the dead was a firefighter.

    Two storm-related deaths were reported in North Carolina, including a woman on board a replica of the HMS Bounty who was plucked from the sea Monday and later died at hospital. The captain was still missing Tuesday after the tall ship went down off the coast of North Carolina.

    North Carolina’s State Highway Patrol also reported that a driver slammed into a tree Monday evening and died on the spot.

    A vehicle driver and his passenger were killed in the Virginia state capital of Richmond in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday, city police said.

    Three storm-related deaths were reported in Maryland, Ed McDonough with the state Emergency Management Agency told AFP. Two were killed in vehicle-related accidents, while a third died when he was crushed by a tree that fell into his home.

    And in West Virginia, a 48-year-old woman was killed when her car collided with a cement truck while driving through heavy snow caused by the storm, a local official said.

    The National Hurricane Center said Sandy had weakened early Tuesday as it moved inland, but could still generate gale-force winds and flooding along the Eastern Seaboard.

    US authorities had warned the threat to life and property was “unprecedented” and ordered hundreds of thousands of residents from New England to North Carolina to evacuate their homes and seek shelter.

    Falling trees dragged down power cables, plunging millions of homes into darkness, while storm warnings cut rail links and marooned tens of thousands of travelers at airports across the region.

    Disaster estimating firm Eqecat forecast that the massive storm would affect more than 60 million Americans, a fifth of the population, and cause up to $20 billion (15 billion euros) in damage.

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