US military mobilizes to help restore power to New York

AFP , Thursday 1 Nov 2012

It will take until November 11 to get power restored to all of New York City following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, the Con Edison electricity company said

The Con Edison electricity company said there had been 100,000 cases of falling trees and other objects tearing down power lines and these would take time to repair. It said the vast majority of New Yorkers would get power back before November 11.

US military cargo planes are flying dozens of heavy trucks and a team of specialists to New York on Thursday to help with efforts to restore power in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, officials said.

The deployment of C-5 and C-17 cargo aircraft came as the National Guard reported its troops rescued some 2,000 stranded residents from flooded homes in New Jersey in the past two days, as the military aided local governments responding to the devastating storm.

The five C-5 and 12 C-17 planes picked up more than 60 vehicles and a 10-member civilian team in California before heading across the country to Stewart Air National Guard base in Newburgh, 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of storm-battered New York City, the Pentagon said.

The planes were due to start landing at the base on Thursday afternoon.

The array of repair trucks being transported, including cherry-pickers and a mobile command center, were provided by a utility company, Southern California Edison, to help revive electricity service in areas hit by Sandy, spokesman George Little told reporters.

Nearly 10,000 National Guard forces have fanned out along the eastern seaboard, delivering generators and water pumps to flooded coastal communities, as well as rescuing stranded motorists in the mountains of West Virginia, which saw heavy snowfall.

The US Navy meanwhile ordered three amphibious ships Wednesday to head towards the New Jersey coast in case local authorities needed assistance with rescue efforts, officials said.

The move "will allow our forces to be best postured to minimize the amount of time it will take these forces to get on station if tasked," said US Navy spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.

The three ships were the helicopter carrier USS Wasp, the USS Antonio and the USS Carter Hall.

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