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Superstorm Sandy racks up $32 billion in NY damages (+video)

Between the state of New York and New York City, hurricane Sandy has cost about $32 billion in losses. State and local governments already facing financial strain will turn to the federal government for aid.

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"Make no mistake, this will not be an easy task, particularly given the impending fiscal cliff, and a Congress that has been much less friendly to disaster relief than in the past," Schumer said. "We will work with the (Obama) administration on supplemental legislation, to be introduced in the upcoming December session of Congress, that will set us on the road to meeting New York's needs. This will be an effort that lasts not weeks, but many months, and we will not rest until the federal response meets New York's deep and extensive needs."

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Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican who, like Schumer, is a powerful member of his chamber, said he is seeking cooperation from House leaders to find enough disaster aid.

"It really is survival," King said. "This is an emergency. This should be separate of all the debate about the fiscal cliff and everything else."

The Cuomo administration has gained the public support of President Barack Obama and FEMA in New York's proposal for full reimbursement for storm damage, but state officials have privately worried about how much the state can get now.

In the city, Bloomberg is asking federal lawmakers to put up nearly $10 billion to reimburse government agencies and private businesses. That would be additional funding on an expedited basis over the $5.4 billion in standard disaster aid that the city projects it will receive from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

That FEMA money and private insurance won't cover all the public and private expenses from the storm, which included damaged streets and restaurants closed because of flooding, Bloomberg said.

"While the impact of the storm will be felt for some time and the challenges are great, I am confident that the city will rebound and emerge stronger than ever," Bloomberg wrote to the congressional delegation.

Reinsurance company Swiss Re showed the extent of private sector pain. It estimates that claims stemming from Sandy will cost the company about $900 million and that total losses from insured damage will be between $20 billion and $25 billion.

Reinsurance firms provide coverage to insurance companies for great losses stemming from events like natural disasters.

Other states are seeking federal assistance, too. FEMA has already paid out nearly $250 million in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie says the preliminary damage estimate is $29.4 billion and could rise.

Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz and Meghan Barr in New York City contributed to this report.

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