Superstorm Sandy still has many families reeling in the Northeast, leaving them displaced or without power and heat in their homes. Nor’easter hit the tri-state area not long after the disaster and added fuel to the fire. CNN’s Susan Candiotti has been following the story and reporting the aftermath of both in coastal New Jersey. She speaks with one couple returning home after Nor’easter and Sandy.
Bill and Sue Kosakowski’s Pelican Island home took a fierce beating during the storm. Sue had decided to evacuate while Bill remained to ride out the storm alone until it was too much for him to bear. “I rode out the storm Friday morning. I said I couldn't take anymore because they turned the gas off,” Bill says. “That was enough for me and I told my wife I would walk across the bridge if I had to and I was getting off."
Candiotti accompanies the couple as they make their emotional return together for the first time after the ordeal. The sight stuns them, but Sue is grateful. "The house is stones and bricks and windows and glass. I thought I lost him and losing him would have just devastated me,” she says. “I don't know how long I could have gone on.”
Bill takes stock of their dream retirement home. “You expect to spend the rest of your life in calm and peace,” he says. “And in one felt swoop, everything washed away."
Christine Romans explains that fear, not a fuel shortage, is leading to long lines at gas stations across the northeast.
CNN's Brian Todd reports on the frustration felt by Staten Island residents in the clean up after superstorm Sandy.
Rob Marciano reports on the high demand for gasoline in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
New Yorkers are still reeling from Superstorm Sandy. Millions of people, business and institutions are out of power, including Bellevue Hospital which started the process of moving over 700 patients after the storm caused generators failed last night. There were 260 people still to be moved today. This comes after NYU's Langone Medical Center was forced to evacuate its patients when backup generator failed during the storm on Monday night. Beth Israel is the only remaining hospital open in lower Manhattan.
Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, has studied how hospitals handled Hurricane Katrina. He has worked extensively to help establish on-going medical and public health programs in the Gulf region following Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Redlener joins John Berman on “Early Start” to discuss the evacuation of Bellevue and other city hospitals.
Dr. Redlener responds to how Bellevue is handling the evacuation process. “The performance by the hospital staff, the first responders, the National Guard is extraordinary,” he says. “These are exemplary performances by professionals who know what they’re doing and really do care about getting the job done right. So there’s nothing to fault about the heroism and the actions of the individuals on scene. It was tremendous.”
Berman asks Dr. Redlener how these hospitals were not more prepared. “There should have been a more detailed engineering look at how the whole system works, to make sure that not just the generator but everything that needs to feed into the generator, specifically in this case the fuel pumps, were protected from the inevitable flooding that happens in a coastal storm,” Dr. Redlener says, “especially for the hospitals in Zone A. This is just one of the things that—it fell through the cracks, but it turns out to be a critical detail.”
He advises, “You gotta imagine everything possibly that could go wrong and try to address it before it happens,” when planning for disasters.
Berman asks why this could happen after lessons should have been learned from Katrina, but Dr. Redlener says it’s hard to say. A “wake-up call” like Katrina ends up being like a “snooze alarm” and “you get a lot less focused afterwards.”
Christine Romans reports that difficulty getting access to gasoline due to power outages is resulting in long lines in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shared a rare display of bipartisanship yesterday when the two surveyed Sandy’s damage together in the state. Christie praised the president’s personal and prompt response to the destruction.
Today, Obama returns to the campaign trail. With only five days until Americans hit the voting booths, the president will be making stops in Colorado, Wisconsin and Nevada. Mitt Romney resumed campaigning yesterday and makes an appearance in Virginia.
Former Senior Clinton Adviser and NewYorker.com writer Richard Socarides and CNN Contributor and Republican Strategist Ana Navarro weigh in on the race from here on out.
“Early Start” anchor Zoraida Sambolin poses the question of whether the cooperation over Sandy between Republican Governor Christie and Democratic President Obama will affect the outcome of the election. Navarro answers that it is simply a refreshing sight to see.
“Every now and then the right thing to do is also the smart thing to do politically,” she says. “"Frankly, this bromance between Chris Christie and President Obama is a sight to be seen and something to be heard. But I think it's also very refreshing. I don't know who it helps, I don't know who it hurt, but I think it helps the people of New Jersey."
She adds, "I think it’s good for the people of the ‘United States to see that we unite in a moment of crisis and that we put helping people in suffering conditions above party or politics, even five days before an election.”
Socarides agrees. “It showed a lot of respect,” Socarides says about the bipartisanship, “and really well done both by Governor Christie and the president.”
Chris Christie, a key Romney surrogate, has also bluntly distanced himself from presidential politics since taking responsibility of Sandy’s aftermath. Sambolin asks whether this could hurt Romney. Navarro feels that Christie’s response is out of sincerity and typical of him. “It’s a new world after Sandy for New Jersey,” Navarro says, and she thinks Christie refuses to be bothered about politics now because his priority is to take care of the people in harms way in his state.
Socarides feels this is simply Obama’s time to be president, and Romney has no choice but to stand by and cooperate. “For the president, good government is good politics right now,” Socarides says. “Unfortunately for Governor Romney, all he can do now is kind of stay out of the way.”
Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) on the latest in the rescue and clean up efforts in Long Branch, NJ after superstorm Sandy.
Christine Romans shares tips on how people who were affected by Sandy could have an insurance deductible for damages.
Christine Romans looks at how the markets could react after being closed for two days for superstorm Sandy.