Death Toll Rises

Associated Press

In what many are calling the worst natural disaster to ever strike the United States, the death toll of the Great Storm that ravaged America's northeastern seaboard over the last three months is only now showing the true toll it has taken on the country. Across much of the northeast, as cities and towns dig out from the colossal amounts of snow dumped on them, a more tragic unearthing is taking place.

In New York state alone, an estimated fifteen thousand people are believed to have died from exposure after temperatures plunged down to arctic conditions. Bodies of the dead buried by the snow have begun to be uncovered by city maintenance workers, the most grisly so far being the site of a mass grave in Brooklyn's Prospect Park where the bodies of those killed by the cold were piled up and burned for warmth by the park's resident homeless population.

NYPD officer Emanuel Chavez has been going door to door throughout the Bronx checking on families that were at risk from the storm. "It's a terrible thing, knocking on a door and not getting any response, only to have an emergency crew come back an hour later and take the door down and find people— families— frozen dead in their homes," Chavez said to reporters Monday morning. "It's a hard thing to do, seeing all this. I heard people talking about similar stuff after Katrina happened a few years back, and I just never thought I'd be seeing something like it first hand."

Especially hard hit by the storm were the three dozen FEMA trailer parks containing displaced survivors of the 2006 Midtown incident across New York and New Jersey. The NYPD reported that over one hundred residents of the Thomas Jefferson park were found dead, some due to exposure others crushed when their trailers collapsed from the weight of the snow.

It is unknown if the estimates of the death toll will be an accurate one, but FEMA spokesman Olivia Montblanc believes there could be an even higher number to come once areas like Staten Island are taken into consideration.

Outside of New York City, equally tragic numbers of dead are expected to be released once recovery and cleanup completes.

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