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Buffalo families struggle to find food and necessities after the battering of the winter storm


The city's two largest supermarket chains have been closed since Friday and many city residents are turning to Facebook groups dedicated to storm recovery.

By Melissa Chan -

NBC News

Families in western New York scrambled to find food, medicine and other necessities Monday after a historic blizzard blocked roads and knocked out power, forcing many major supermarkets and pharmacies to close. 

In Buffalo, where at least 18 people have died, the two largest supermarket chains have been closed since Friday, as the latest forecasts announced between 15 and 20 centimeters more snow.

[Southwest cancels 70% of its flights due to the storm and leaves thousands of travelers on the ground after Christmas Day]

“There are no stores open.

It's anything you can grab,” said Scott McCandless, 54, who lives in Orchard Park, a southeast suburb of Buffalo.

Surrounded by snow on Sunday night, McCandless ate a bowl of generic cinnamon crisp toast for Christmas dinner.

In the morning, he was concerned to see his supply of bread and eggs dwindle and his number of cans of meatball soup dwindle to three.

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“I was running out of nothing and I was getting nervous,” he said.

When his driveway was finally plowed at 9 a.m., McCandless headed out in search of open grocery stores.

“I drove three miles (five kilometers), then five miles (eight kilometers) in my car and nothing was open.

I gave up,” he explained.

At the Salvatore's Garden Place hotel, less than three miles (five kilometers) from Buffalo Niagara International Airport, the food supply is dwindling as the hotel serves three meals a day to more than 80 guests.

[New York residents urged to stay indoors to shelter from winter storm]

“We are trying to survive however we can,” said Leven Oxmaul, a reception agent who has been stuck in the snow since Thursday. 

“We are running out of food,” Oxmaul complained, adding that there are no snacks or drinks in the hotel gift shop anymore.

“It's really frustrating.

Guests are also losing patience.

We can't go anywhere.

We are buried in the snow,” he noted.

The "unique" blizzard - which has killed at least 57 people across the country, 27 of them in Erie County, western New York - has left many in dire straits.

Desperate pleas from Buffaloans have flooded Facebook groups dedicated to storm recovery.

Citizens walk on a snow-covered sidewalk after a snowfall in Buffalo, New York, on December 26, 2022.Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

One person asked for spare diapers for twin babies, and another for cold medicine for a sick child.

Several people urgently asked for baby formula milk.

“We are running out of food, we are stuck at home,” wrote a Buffalo resident with four young children.

“I started to panic when I looked outside and saw that it was snowing more,” he added.

[Winter storm leaves dozens dead and catastrophe in the United States]

It is unclear when the major supermarkets in the Buffalo area will reopen.

Snow continued to blanket Erie County Monday, rendering roads impassable in many areas, including most of Buffalo, County Executive Mark Poloncarz said at a news conference.

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Dec 27, 202200:40

About 10,000 people were still without power in Buffalo as of Monday afternoon, according to Mayor Byron Brown.

Poloncarz said he hoped some of the suburbs would be able to lift the driving bans on Tuesday, allowing Tops Friendly Markets and Wegmans Food Markets to resume business.

Meanwhile, Poloncarz said supermarkets have been allowed to get replacement shipments while officials were coordinating transportation of food to shelters, emergency crews and people stuck inside who may be running out of food.

[Dozens of deaths leave the storm that affected the northeastern US this Christmas]

“It is a concern that we are working on.

I feel sorry for the people out there.

You have my deepest apologies," Poloncarz said.

All Tops locations in Niagara County are currently open, the supermarket chain said.

But at least 20 stores in the rest of Erie County were still closed Monday afternoon.

Wegmans did not immediately respond.

County and state officials said the devastation from the blizzard was not over yet.

“We know the storm is coming back,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

"So anyone who declares victory and says it's over, it's too early to say."

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2022-12-27

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