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CNN BREAKING NEWS

NYC Mobilizes To Ensure Safety Of Population

Aired August 14, 2003 - 20:29   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Leon, the president due to speak if he's on schedule about two minutes from now on the West Coast. We will need to bring you the tape of that statement as soon as possible. The president is not at a location from which we can bring you live coverage.
He is one of the officials dealing with this response today. Another, and one of the officials closer to the problem, if you will, is the governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevey. I believe we have Governor McGreevey joining us on the phone right now, can hear me sir?

GOV. JIM MCGREEVEY, NEW JERSEY (via telephone): Sure, perfectly.

KING: John King in Washington, sir. Take us through the day in the sense of let's begin with what you know now. We are hearing about the potential cause of all this. What do you know now about what might have caused this? How many people in your state affected initially and what is the situation at this hour?

MCGREEVEY: Sure, John. Actually as time moves on and the situation is improving originally we had upwards of a million New Jersey residents impacted. Now we're down to 400,000. All hospitals in the state of New Jersey have power. Obviously we lost all energy between Penn Station, New York City and Penn Station, Newark.

We deployed upwards of 500 busses -- 300 busses that went into the Port Authority of New York City literally picking people up in front of the Port Authority as energy went down traveling over to the Continental Arena site and the Meadowlands so that people can move out to their homes.

In addition, we also provided more busses to meet the ferries as they came across the Hudson River to be able to move people throughout portions of the state. We also called up 300 additional state police troopers to provide safety and security and upwards of 700 National Guard were deployed. They will only be mobilized at the request of the state police superintendent.

So, all hospitals have energy. Again, upwards of 500 busses to make sure that New Jersey citizens get home to their families tonight, 300 state troopers, upwards of 700 National Guard to make sure that all of our communities and neighborhoods are safe and secure as night falls.

KING: Governor, we heard the New York City mayor earlier today, Governor Pataki of neighboring New York earlier today. In both of their news conferences, they were applauding their citizens, saying things are remarkably calm. Any bad news out of this today? Any deaths attributable to this? Any significant looting or problems in your state?

MCGREEVEY: No, there are no fatalities reported. All individuals were moved from New Jersey Transit trains. All individuals that were on PATH trains were evacuated. People have been incredibly cooperative. And I would also like to thank local police departments, which are serving as the foundation of our effort, with Colonel Fuentes of the state police and the National Guard, we're bolstering local police efforts.

But right now, all hospital have energy. We're getting our residents home to their families. And our streets are safe and secure, and clearly we have backup with the state police and the National Guard as needed.

And as we talk, I've been handed information that portions of Essex County are back up with energy, Elizabeth, a major city in New Jersey, is back up with energy. And we're working with PSE&G, obviously, to restore energy on the grid.

But the Office of Emergency Management, things are working, they're working well. Obviously, this is a significant inconvenience, but working together with local government, local police departments, we'll get through this.

KING: And quickly, governor, do you have a timetable for a full restoration, and are you being told and assured that sometime tonight or certainly by daybreak tomorrow morning, things will be back to normal?

MCGREEVEY: We declared a state of emergency, obviously, so that we could deploy the National Guard. We've been given evaluations that upwards of 16 additional hours will be required until the entirety of the state has restored energy on the grid.

KING: Governor Jim McGreevey of the state of New Jersey, among those hit hard by this cascading blackout today. Thank you, sir, for joining us and helping us tonight understand all this.

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