UN Security Council forced to relocate after storm

Hurricane Sandy forces UN headquarters to move as US President Barack Obama tours New Jersey with Republican governor.

By REUTERS
October 31, 2012 23:43
2 minute read.
Submerged cars in  Hoboken, New Jersey

Submerged cars in Hoboken, New Jersey Sandy flood 370 (R). (photo credit: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

 
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NEW YORK - The UN Security Council will meet later on Wednesday to discuss Somalia and other issues, but it has been forced to relocate because of water damage to parts of the United Nations complex from the storm Sandy, diplomats said.

It was not immediately clear how badly the UN buildings were damaged by the storm. Diplomats said flooding in basement areas was severe enough to require the 15-nation council to move to a temporary container-like structure built to house parts of the UN secretariat and conference rooms during a years-long renovation of the main buildings due to finish in 2013.

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Reporters accredited to the United Nations have so far not been allowed back into the world body's headquarters by the East River in midtown Manhattan. It has been shut since Monday before Sandy crashed ashore the same day, the largest storm to hit the United States in generations.

The US Northeast began crawling back to normal on Wednesday after Sandy crippled transportation, knocked out power for millions and killed at least 45 people in nine states with a massive storm surge and rain that caused epic flooding.

In a show of solidarity, President Barack Obama and Republican Governor Chris Christie put aside partisan differences on Wednesday to visit storm-swamped parts of New Jersey together and oversee relief efforts after the devastation of the storm Sandy.

Obama and Christie lifted off by helicopter under cloudy skies for an hour-long aerial tour of affected areas. With them was Federal Emergency Management Administration director Craig Fugate.

Despite being a top surrogate for Obama's election rival Mitt Romney, Christie has lavished praise on Obama for organizing federal government support during the storm.



Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held back from his usual attacks on President Barack Obama on Wednesday, as his campaign offered a more upbeat message with the East reeling from the storm Sandy.

As Obama travels to New Jersey to survey the damage with Republican Governor Chris Christie, Romney staged a show of strength in Florida, the most populous swing state where polls show him narrowly ahead.

He was joined by two of the most important politicians in the state, Republican Senator Marco Rubio and former Governor Jeb Bush, at a rally in a Tampa airport hangar.

Romney, who canceled political events earlier this week due to the storm, urged Florida voters to send donations to the Red Cross to help the victims. He said he believed his election next Tuesday would also be an example of Americans coming together.

"We come together at times like these. Now people coming together is what's also going to happen on November 7," he said, referring to the day after the election.



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