NUEVA YORK (AP) — Muchos damnificados por la supertormenta Sandy acudieron a misa el domingo a rezar por su liberación a medida que el clima frío se extendía en la zona metropolitana de Nueva York y el pronóstico de otro potente meteoro profundizaba el desánimo por el infortunio.

Con temperaturas gélidas durante la noche y cientos de miles de viviendas y negocios aún sin electricidad seis días después del paso de Sandy, la gente dormía bajo varias capas de tela y las autoridades de Nueva York distribuían frazadas e instaban a los damnificados a pasar la noche en albergues o en centros con calefacción durante el día.

Al mismo tiempo, los líderes del gobierno comenzaba a lidiar con un enorme problema a largo plazo: dónde hallar vivienda para las decenas de miles de personas cuyas casas podrían estar inhabitables por semanas o meses debido a una combinación de daños por la tormenta y el clima frío.

El alcalde Michael Bloomberg dijo que de 30.000 a 40.000 neoyorquinos podrían necesitar ser reubicados, una tarea monumental en una ciudad donde la vivienda es escasa y cara, aunque agregó que el número podría descender a 20.000 dentro de un par de semanas cuando se restablezca la electricidad en muchos lugares.

LEE LOS COMENTARIOS A ESTA NOTA Y AGREGA EL TUYO


En un vecindario de Staten Island muy afectado por una fuerte inundación, Sara Zavala pasó la noche bajo dos frazadas y varias prendas invernales porque estaba sin energía eléctrica. Tiene un calentador de gas propano pero sólo lo encendió un par de horas en la mañana, pues prefiere no dormir con el artefacto encendido durante la noche.


"Cuando desperté, me dije: 'está helando'. Y pensé 'esto no puede seguir así por mucho tiempo''', comentó Zavala, que trabaja como coordinadora de admisiones en un asilo de ancianos.


Después de casi una semana de que Sandy azotó el litoral de Nueva Jersey en un embate que causó la muerte de más de un centenar de personas en 10 estados, la carestía de gasolina persistía por toda la región. Comenzó a ser racionada en el norte de Nueva Jersey, lo que recuerda la crisis energética de la década de 1970.


Casi un millón de viviendas y negocios seguían sin electricidad en Nueva Jersey y unas 650.000 en la ciudad de Nueva York, sus suburbios del norte y Long Island.


Con el restablecimiento de más líneas del tren subterráneo el lunes y la reapertura de más escuelas citadinas, extensos sectores de la ciudad volvían a una actividad parecida a la normal.


Pero la semana podría traer consigo nuevos desafíos, en especial un día de elecciones sin electricidad en cientos de centros electorales, y una tormenta que podría castigar el miércoles al noreste con vientos de 88 kilómetros por hora (55 millas por hora) y más erosión de las playas, inundaciones y lluvia.


"Prepárense para más apagones", dijo Joe Pollina, del Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. "Permanezcan bajo techo. Vuelvan a almacenar víveres".


Cientos de centros de votación serán operados con generadores de corriente eléctrica, algunos han sido trasladados a otros lugares y se prevé que habrá demoras en los reportes de resultados en algunos puntos de reñidas contiendas debido a que se han prolongado los plazos para el conteo de votos.


"Bueno, la primera tormenta me inundó la casa y el dueño dice que hay una gran rajadura en el techo, por lo que existen posibilidades de que esta tormenta provoque aún más daño", señaló John Lewis en un albergue de la ciudad de New Rochelle, en el estado de Nueva York. "Esperaba volver muy pronto, pero el panorama no se presenta muy halagüeño".


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Los periodistas de The Associated Press Michael Rubinkam, Cara Anna, David B. Caruso, Tom Hays, Michael Hill, Hillel Italie, Christina Rexrode en Nueva York; Jim Fitzgerald en Mount Vernon, Nueva York; y Ben Nuckols en Belmar, Nueva Jersey, contribuyeron con este despacho.

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  • A man walks past destroyed homes on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. Officials say New York City's free repair program for storm-damaged homes has fixed up about 50 homes so far, while still just gearing up. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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  • People wait to use a pay phone on Bright Beach Avenue, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. People in the coastal corridor battered by superstorm Sandy took the first cautious steps Wednesday to reclaim routines upended by the disaster, even as rescuers combed neighborhoods strewn with debris and scarred by floods and fire. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

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  • Workers try to clear boats and debris from the New Jersey Transit Morgan draw bridge Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in South Amboy, N.J., after Monday's storm surge from Sandy pushed boats and cargo containers onto the train tracks. New Jersey Transit's North Jersey Coast Line, which provides train service from the New Jersey shore towns to New York City, may experience prolonged disruption. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • This photo provided by Metropolitan Transportation Authority shows people boarding a bus, as partial bus service was restored on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. Mass transit, including buses, was suspended during Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday. (AP Photo/Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Patrick Cashin)

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  • Ryan Fitzgerald, Connie Boorer, Debbie Baker-Star

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  • A vehicle is submerged on 14th Street near the Consolidated Edison power plant, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in New York. Sandy knocked out power to at least 3.1 million people, and New York's main utility said large sections of Manhattan had been plunged into darkness by the storm, with 250,000 customers without power as water pressed into the island from three sides, flooding rail yards, subway tracks, tunnels and roads. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

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