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Cuomo: Nassau FEMA aid requests top 44,000

In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, people wait

In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, people wait online for assistance at the FEMA Mobile Disaster Recovery Center set up at E.W. Bower Elementary School in Lindenhurst. (Nov. 1, 2012) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

More than 44,000 federal aid requests have been filed in Nassau County for federal aid in the wake of superstorm Sandy -- more than any locale in the state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday.

Cuomo said there is no "definitive" number on the amount of people affected by Sandy 12 days after it hit, but FEMA said requests provide one way to tell, and that number in New York is 154,000 The governor said that number "will go up."

Besides Nassau, there have been more than 30,000 applications from Queens and 16,496 from Suffolk County.

In his latest storm briefing, the governor also announced a new Empire State Relief Fund, with actors Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Whoopi Goldberg doing public-service announcements for the fund on television.

Cuomo also said that "reports are the lines are shorter" at Long Island gas stations Friday, the first day that county governments implemented an "odd-even" gasoline rationing system.

"One of the things we have to do is to get buyers to relax," Cuomo said, referring to the rationing system, in which drivers with license plates ending in an odd number can buy on odd days, while drivers with plates ending in an even number can only buy on even days.

The system also was implemented the same day in New York City so the "system is synchronized."

"We didn't want people shopping from one county to the other," the governor said.

The governor didn't weigh in on a request made Wednesday by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano to have the U.S. military take over the "managerial structure" of LIPA to complete the restorations.

"People want as much help as they can get," the governor said. "I understand that. We all want the same thing."

With Ellen Yan

State & Region