Bloomberg: Sandy losses total $19 billion

A piece of construction equipment works on the

A piece of construction equipment works on the pile of debris, collected during the cleanup from Superstorm Sandy, in the parking lot of Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaway section of the Queens. (Nov. 14, 2012) (Credit: AP)

New York City lost an estimated $19 billion from superstorm Sandy, and City Hall is asking Washington to come up with a large chunk of that to take care of losses not covered by insurance or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In a letter to the New York congressional delegation, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that private homeowners and businesses alone lost $8.6 billion, less than half of which is covered by insurance. Bloomberg said the city also suffered indirect losses, through lost business, productivity and wages, of about $5.7 billion.

"The city will struggle to recover in the long term unless expedited federal funding is supplied," Bloomberg said. "Congress has long funded the response and recovery from natural disasters in supplemental appropriations."


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Much of the hit comes from small businesses, which were wiped out or suffered large inventory losses, Bloomberg said.

"These businesses are crucial to the city's economy and to the communities that rely on their services, and the work of recovery will not be complete until they are back in business," Bloomberg said.

The city seeks $9.8 billion in federal funds to repair infrastructure and the economic losses. Private insurance and FEMA reimbursements would pay only for $9.2 billion, the mayor said.

In totaling up the losses, Bloomberg noted that public agencies, including the city and other entities such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, have or will spend $4.7 billion in replacing destroyed infrastructure and in the cleanup. A large amount of the public property losses and cleanup costs, about $3.4 billion, will ultimately be covered by FEMA, leaving a gap of about $1.1 billion in public coffers for which additional help is being sought.

With $4.8 billion in estimated uninsured private property losses, FEMA is expected to reimburse $1.8 billion, while reimbursement to businesses is likely to be as much, Bloomberg indicated.

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