Dateline | November 02, 2012
>> good evening, everyone. welcome to "dateline." i'm lester holt . the winds and floodwaters may be gone, but power outages, ruined homes and impassable roads have triggered a whole new set of problems for the east coast . and new yorkers, not always known for their patience, were more rattled today by gas lines that seemed to go on forever. but today, the reason got a glimmer of hope as the relief efforts started to kick in. harry smith starts us off.
>> reporter: it's been four days since hurricane sandy struck the northeast. yesterday there were screams for help in some of the worst hit areas.
>> we all need help. i need help desperately.
>> reporter: today, some help showed up. homeland security secretary janet napolitano toured devastated staten island .
>> we have 3200 fema personnel working this storm in the northeast, and more are on their way.
>> reporter: tons of relief supplies were brought into floyd bennett field in brooklyn. national guardsmen and the red cross seemed a lot more visible and fema set up relief centers throughout the storm zone.
>> fema was very helpful. they came out. we were in need of clothes. in need of food. and any donation that the people have given us, we're very grateful.
>> reporter: because supplies and emergency services have been at such a premium, new yorkers have wondered all week why on earth the stay's legendary marathon was still on schedule to take place sunday. early this evening, it was canceled. and on staten island , where the race always begins, residents said thank goodness.
>> thank god. my reaction is they're coming to their senses and realizing that these resources are going to be needed where it's truly needed.
>> reporter: deputy mayor howard wolfson explained why.
>> it became clear that the marathon, which is really one of the very best days in the life of the city, which is a moment of unity and happiness and joy and a celebration of everything that is new york , had become divisive.
>> reporter: folks are becoming increasingly aware they have a lot in common with the people of the gulf coast who suffered through katrina in 2005 . the sheer size and scope of the destruction from hurricane sandy stretches for hundreds of miles, from the jersey shore , to long island. this was a big storm, and has brought a significant part of the country to its knees.
>> look at this line! it goes back -- this line goes six miles. look at this!
>> reporter: with power still out to millions of people, one of the biggest daily concerns has become gasoline. some lines at stations that still have gas stretched for blocks. tempers of the drivers in those lines frayed. and police have even been called in to patrol the lines to keep the peace.
>> i need to run my taxi too.
>> reporter: there were some signs of meaningful progress. in new york city , more train and subway service was added. all told, the electricity is back on for more than 4 million homes and businesses across the northeast.
>> oh, my god!
>> reporter: this evening, the lights came back on in new york 's greenwich village , something worth celebrating. and all but two of atlantic city 's casinos are back in business. what are the odds of that? but for many more, the misery inflicted by the monster storm feels like it is becoming permanent, homes destroyed, neighborhoods gone, a lifetime's investment wiped out.
>> it is like you had a cute little home and now you have no place to stay. i mean, you don't have a home to live in.
>> reporter: across new york , new jersey, and connecticut, recovery comes in many forms. for some, it is a full tank of gas. for others, it's when the lights go back on. and for one man in new jersey, it's seeing the utility truck arrive on his street.
>> i looked outside and was -- felt like christmas. somebody delivering new telephone poles . this is the most happy feeling i've had since a week ago.
>> reporter: but there may be more misery on the horizon. bad weather is on the way, adding insult to injury.