News Column

Pa. Shelters Ordered Open to Aid NJ, NY Residents Fleeing Sandy

Oct. 30, 2012

Karen Langley

Pennsylvania is opening shelters for people displaced from New York and New Jersey by Hurricane Sandy and its remnants.

Gov. Tom Corbett said he ordered a shelter opened at West Chester University with capacity for 1,300 New Jersey residents and another at East Stroudsburg University with room for 500 New Yorkers.

New Jersey officials have requested 35 ambulances and a mass-casualty bus, Mr. Corbett said.

"I have directed that they be immediately dispensed to assist with emergency medical needs in New Jersey," he said.

Pennsylvania emergency officials are communicating with their counterparts in New York and New Jersey. Mr. Corbett said he has not yet spoken with Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey or Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York but is reaching out to them.

Pennsylvania emergency resources also will be made available to West Virginia and other neighboring states, he said.

Mr. Corbett arrived at his midday press briefing at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency after a conference call between President Barack Obama and the governors of states affected by the storm.

"One thing that he made clear to me is he understands that Pennsylvania is still in play with the weather, as is New York and the rest of the states going forward, going up to the Northeast," he said. "Power was one of his number one concerns, outside of what you see in New York and New Jersey with the flooding down there, and that he was going to make the agencies of the federal government available to us."

Power was out for 1.25 million Pennsylvania customers, Mr. Corbett said, down from the 1.3 million outages he reported at a 9 a.m. briefing.

Mr. Corbett said that earlier in the day Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had called to ask about conditions in Pennsylvania and wish his best to the state.

A third storm-related death had been reported, he said, a traffic fatality in Somerset County. Earlier, deaths from falling trees had been reported in Susquehanna and Berks counties.

Mr. Corbett planned to travel at 3 p.m. to Fort Indiantown Gap to visit National Guard troops responding to the storm.

Source: (c)2012 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Distributed by MCT Information Services