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NEW YORK: Troops rescued more people from storm-flooded homes yesterday and millions remained without power along the US East Coast even as New York struggled back to life with the first subway trains rolling in four days.
Despite a huge cleanup operation after the devastating storm, major difficulties remained along the East Coast, particularly in New Jersey.
Hoboken authorities estimated on Wednesday that 20,000 people were stuck in their homes and high-wheel military trucks were brought in to reach stricken houses and apartment blocks.
The first subway trains brought some cheer to New York City, but difficulties remained significant with Con Edison power company saying that about 650,000 thousand people in the city were still without power.
Con Edison spokesman Alfonso Quiroz promised that more than 200,000 Manhattan customers blacked out by an explosion at a sub-station would have power by Saturday morning. New York authorities handed out ice across the city to help people preserve food.
A skeleton metro service started just before dawn and trains were quickly packed. Train fees were waived on Thursday and Friday. “It is not comfortable but it is a huge relief to get moving again,” said commuter Dave Stetman.
In a bid to avoid gridlock traffic jams that hit Manhattan on Wednesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said cars entering the island must have at least three occupants. Police set up checkpoints at bridges yesterday and turned back hundreds of cars.
Police said the New York City death toll from Sandy in the city had risen from 24 to 37. At least 85 people have now been reported dead along the 15 eastern states hit by Sandy. AFP