"We're Gonna Try to Help Them": Kaine on Nor'easter Victims

More than 170,000 customers were without electricity

Sunday, Nov 15, 2009  |  Updated 4:15 PM EDT
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"We're Gonna Try to Help Them": Kaine on Nor'easter Victims

NBC

Governor Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

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Gov. Tim Kaine visited two cities Saturday hit especially hard by a drenching storm and flooding and heard appeals from residents for assistance.

In Norfolk, Kaine stopped by the Ocean View section of the city. Part of the main thoroughfare, Ocean View Avenue, and a number of side streets, remain under water. Downed trees and power lines blocked other streets.

At the height of the Nor'easter that struck Friday, more than 170,000 customers of Dominion Virginia Power were without electricity. That number was under 20,000 on Saturday. Four highway deaths were also linked to the rain and high winds, which gusted to 75 mph.

"There's no substitute for seeing it personally,” Kaine said. “It's heartbreaking to see people suffering like this.”

One Ocean View resident grabbed Kaine's hand and pleaded for help.

As he said earlier in Hampton, Kaine assured residents he would seek federal disaster aid, as well as examine the state's contingency budget.

“We're gonna try to help them,” the governor said.

In Hampton, Kaine and members of the area's congressional delegation visited the Riverdale neighborhood, where officials estimate the structural damage was $3 million. Area officials have said they will have to wait until flood waters recede before they can tally the damage from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida.

“There's a cost to it but there is also the sheer physical effort to do the work,” Kaine said. “You lose a lot of stuff you don't get back.”

A 570-barge being towed from Puerto Rico to New Jersey that broke free and drifted to shore in the storm is now grounded off the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach. The Coast Guard said Saturday the runaway vessel, primarily carrying container cargo, was secure and they were making plans to tow it away.

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