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Storm disrupts power across New York

Wed, 10/31/2012 - 17:02 -- Ruth Williams

Five million people have been left without power as Hurricane Sandy moves inland up the east coast of America and Canada.

A power company serving New York, Consolidated Edison, has cut off power to parts of Manhattan to protect its infrastructure after the electricity system became overloaded by the storm.

Residents of the entire New York region have been warned that power outages could last up to ten days. Patients at one hospital had to be evacuated when the back-up power system failed due to flooding.

The largest telecommunications provider to have been affected, Verizon Communications, has suffered damage to its lines and offices holding vital telecom equipment have flooded in three areas of New York.

About 25 % of the region's wireless cell towers were out of action after the storm and some emergency call centers were not working, according the Federal Communications Commission. The power outages could disrupt more cell sites if they run out of back-up power before commercial electricity services are up and running again.