TODAY | November 03, 2012
>>> about two and a half million homes and businesses along the east coast remain without power this morning. that's down from a peak of eight and a half million. while things are slowly returning to normal for some people, for others, help can't come fast enough. michelle franzen is in staten island . good morning.
>> reporter: good morning, lester. staten island suffering the highest death toll and the severest damage. these boats tossed around like toys, slammed into homes and hundreds of people now displaced and living in shelters, upset that help didn't arrive soon enough. just one of the areas up and down the east coast now trying to cope with sandy's aftermath. desperately needed aid rolled into staten island .
>> thank you, fema.
>> reporter: fema, red cross and the national guard finally on site. it followed days of outrage and pain in new york city 's hardest hit working class community.
>> you need to come here and help us. we need assistance. please.
>> reporter: homeland secretary janet napolitano got a firsthand look at the devastation, promising immediate help for the hundreds now displaced and living at local shelters.
>> staten island took a particularly hard hit from sandy, so we want to make sure that the right resources are brought here as quickly as possible.
>> reporter: in new jersey, governor chris christie offered a more sobering view of the long road to recovery for the shore communities battered by hurricane sandy's wind and surge.
>> my first job is to get your life back to as normal as it can be. that's all about getting power back on, getting gas at the gas stations , getting your kids back in school, and making sure that we have clean water for them to drink.
>> it looks like it's coming back on.
>> reporter: in new york city 's darker lower manhattan , the power is slowly returning.
>> thank you. we're happy, right? we're back to work.
>> reporter: along with subway and ferry service. at gas stations , frustrations grew along with the long lines due to fuel shortages. friday, tankers full of gasoline moved into new york's harbor to ease the pain at the pump.
>> how are you, ma'am? you okay?
>> reporter: meanwhile, communities are coming together, handing out donated food, clothing and other supplies, crucial comforts for those now forced to start over. and back here on staten island today, residents will have a chance to pick up some donated items, not only from red cross , but also from the community that's coming together, and many people that have crossed the bridge to this isolated island to give what they can.