“I thank President Obama for his quick action granting New York a federal disaster declaration,” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. “The damage incurred by Irene has devastated communities in counties across our State, leaving many without homes and towns and villages without essential public infrastructure. All levels of government are working together to help New York recover and we will not stop until the job is done.”
Obama also declared disasters in Vermont and North Carolina. Flooded roads left at least 13 towns in Vermont completely cut off from civilisation, and without power or running water. According to the Associated Press, a total of at least 44 people have died in 13 states as a result of Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm as it hit New York City on Sunday morning. More than 2.5 million people from North Carolina to Maine were still without electricity as of Tuesday.
Insurance estimates of the total losses from the storm along the U.S. Atlantic Coast – including damage and expenses incurred by governments – are about $7 – $10 billion. Making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history so far.