Buffalo residents stranded without food as storm death toll rises to 35
Five days after a massive blizzard devastated Buffalo, the city was still digging out from the snow as some residents were stranded without food and embattled officials vowed to clear roads by the end of Wednesday.
As the area’s death toll rose to a staggering 35 people, a top county official pointed a finger Wednesday at Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown for the city’s slow recovery and lack of leadership ahead of the storm, The Buffalo Times reported.
“The city, unfortunately, is always the last one to open,” Poloncarz said at a press conference Wednesday. “It’s embarrassing, to tell you the truth.”
His scathing comments came as 580 National Guard members were dispatched to do “wellness checks” on people trapped at home without food or medications amid the city’s driving ban, a state official told The Post.
“If someone needs food, we’re bringing them MREs,” New York National Guard spokesman Eric Durr told The Post. “We did a similar thing in New York City following Superstorm Sandy.”
The military branch’s mission also includes traffic control and road rescues along with transporting medical workers to hospitals to treat people, he said.
At least 70% of roadways had been cleared in the city Wednesday as hundreds of sat stranded or abandoned, said Brown.
“Our goal is to get plowing done today,” he said — adding this may be the worst storm the city has seen “in recorded history.”
He added, “Loss of life during this winter storm is a very, very painful thing.”
Critics have slammed local officials for issuing a travel ban just 41 minutes before the storm took effect Friday, leaving drivers who’d already headed out to work trapped in deadly conditions.
Poloncarz later insisted to The Post that “the preparation was good” but the blizzard struck sooner than expected.
On Wednesday, at least 881 people were still without power in Erie and Niagara counties as temperatures were forecast to rise above freezing, creating a flooding risk.
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