New York To Demolish More Homes After Sandy

New York To Demolish More Homes After Sandy

Hundreds more New York City homes, deemed to be safety hazards following superstorm Sandy, are to be razed in a vast operation.

Some 200 homes in the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island that were hardest hit will be demolished in the coming weeks or months.

"We've never had this scale before," the director of the city's buildings department, Robert LiMandri, said in an interview with the New York Times .

"This is what New Yorkers have read about in many other places and have never seen, so it is definitely unprecedented," he said.

The homes set to be razed will be in addition to the 200 or so that were already to be bulldozed after being heavily damaged by wind, water or by storm-sparked fire.

New York City's Buildings Department must still issue a ruling on another 500 damaged structures, some of which could also meet the same fate, Mr LiMandri said.

A decision on how to rebuild these devastated neighbourhoods has become another subject of intense debate.

Many of the homes that will be torn down are modest single or two-family houses passed down from generation to generation.

New York is still picking up after Sandy ploughed through the US northeast, landing a direct blow on the city and parts of neighbouring New Jersey.

On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden visited New Jersey, overflying areas like devastated Seaside Heights, a well-known beach town.

"We have an awful lot of work to do," Mr Biden said.

"This is a national responsibility," he said. "This is not a local responsibility."

The storm disrupted deliveries and power at fuel stations across New Jersey and New York, forcing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office to announce on Sunday that fuel rationing put in place on November 9 would continue through Thanksgiving.

The rationing so far has "worked well and helped to reduce wait times and lines at the pump," Mr Bloomberg said in a statement.

He said it would remain in place until Friday, "to ensure we do not risk going back to the extreme lines we saw prior to the system being implemented".

The rationing system allows motorists to use service stations on alternate days, depending on whether their licence plates end in an even or odd number.

Nearly one-third of fuel stations remain closed in New York, which could create another problem as many people head out to visit relatives on Thursday.