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Sandy death toll in US rises to nearly 100, could be higher

3:08 PM, Nov 2, 2012   |    comments
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NEW YORK -- The death toll in the U.S. from Superstorm Sandy neared 100 victims on Friday, as New York City reported another death and Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned: "There could be more fatalities."

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The toll in the nation's largest city is now 41 deaths, Bloomberg said at a press conference at which he also defended the decision to run the New York Marathon this Sunday and tried to defuse concerns about gasoline shortages.

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Half of the city's deaths were on Staten Island. Bloomberg noted the deaths of two brothers swept from their mother's arms in the storm surge there.

"It just breaks your heart to think about it," Bloomberg said.

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NBC News has been able to confirm 95 deaths across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Besides New York City, the deaths are in:

*New Jersey: 13
*Maryland: 11
*Rest of New York state: 8
*Pennsylvania: 7
*West Virginia: 6
*Connecticut: 4
*North Carolina: 2
*Puerto Rico: 1

The storm also killed at least 69 people in the Caribbean, including 54 in Haiti and 11 in Cuba.

Four days after Sandy struck the U.S., New York and the wider region were in full recovery mode Friday:

*NYC Marathon: Responding to anger over the decision to hold the race, Bloomberg called it a way to raise money and morale for the city. He noted that his predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani, went ahead with the marathon two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "Rudy made the right decision in those days to run the marathon and pull people together," Bloomberg said.

*Gasoline shortages: New York Harbor reopened Friday, providing a critical refueling supply line for the region. But motorists still waited in long lines for gasoline.

*Shelter, food aid: 5,500 people are still in 15 New York City shelters and some could be out of their homes long term. The city on Thursday gave out 290,000 meals and 500,000 bottles of water at 13 stations. Those deliveries will continue indefinitely. But residents of outlying areas like Staten Island and Coney Island complained aid was little and late.

*Damage cost: In New York state alone, the cost could exceed $18 billion, a state official said Friday. Private estimates for the entire region range up to $50 billion in economic losses.

*Military help: Nearly 7,400 National Guard members have provided support, giving out 144,000 meals in New York City and Long Island, rescuing more than 2,000 people and 200 pets, and clearing debris, the Department of Defense said. Equipment and supplies are being delivered, including: ships to New York City to give first responders a place to rest; millions of meals from West Virginia to New York; and trucks that will deliver about 200,000 gallons of fuel.

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