Rock Center | November 01, 2012
>>> enormous area of this country including the most densely populated region of the united states in the grips of an enormous and ongoing crisis tonight. this is another dark, cold night for millions of people and just today for a lot of people, things started feeling a little unhinged because some of the machinery of a civil society has stopped working. houses are ripped apart, people don't have power, they can't buy gasoline. kids aren't going to school. some don't have access to food or water. some new yorkers were looking for still fresh food in dumpsters today that stores had thrown out. the damage stretches for hundreds of miles. the death toll after rising again today stands at 94. and now we're seeing anger as officials learn for the first time of places that are devastated and cut off and not getting help. we begin tonight with nbc's savannah guthrie .
>> reporter: 72 hours after sandy walloped the eastern seaboard from southern new jersey to connecticut and beyond, some things are getting better and some worse. particularly on staten island where today the true devastation became apparent. the death toll is rising and so is the anger.
>> they're still looking for dead bodies . people that are held unaccountable for. so this death toll , it is going up. but you need to come here and help us. we need assistance. please.
>> we have bodies being removed up the block. we are devastated here. there is no red cross .
>> reporter: thousands of families left homeless continue to search through the debris. to salvage what little is left. and as temperatures drop, officials say power won't be fully restored for days. and some new york and connecticut suburbs, at least another week in the dark. elsewhere, clean-up and repair efforts tonight while patience wears thin.
>> i have two 20-month-old babies. and my cars are under water. i don't have transportation out of here. and what are we supposed to do? we heard from a national grid guy that power's going to be out for six weeks.
>> reporter: new york 's mayor michael bloomberg promised more help is on the way .
>> we'll begin distributing thousands of bottles of water and thousands of pre-prepared meals at a number of locations in hard-hit areas.
>> reporter: the mayor says the city remains safe with few incidents of looting. and this sunday's new york marathon is on, a controversial decision because it will bring as many as 30,000 runners into the already struggled city, weaving through all five boroughs. today, getting around storm-damaged areas at times felt like an exercise in futility. huge lines are forming wherever drivers can find a gas station that has power and working pumps.
>> we've been in line about 2 1/2 hours.
>> reporter: how many gas stations did you pass before finding this one?
>> all of them. i don't know, 20, 30.
>> reporter: and a new rule that limits cars coming into new york city to only those with at least three passengers caused miles of incredible back-up at checkpoints. there is some good news. partial subway service was restored and the army corps of engineers is helping to empty a number of still-flooded tunnels. how much water are we talking about that you're going to need to pump out?
>> our estimates right this point in time are 300 million to 400 million gallons of water.
>> reporter: one silver lining from sandy, the floodwaters killed at least a few of the millions of rats that have been the menace of subway stations. but drinking water remains unsafe in many communities. floodwaters filled with a toxic brew of raw sewage and chemicals are making clean-up even harder.
>> insurance companies are telling us to empty our houses out, to clean the stuff and leave it in our property. but is it safe for us to breathe in that stuff? it's all toxic. it's raw sewage .
>> reporter: in coney island , the new york aquarium remains flooded. staffers are pumping the dirty water as fast as they can. but if they can't clear it soon, they'll have to somehow move all the animals. and along the battered jersey shore in those apocalyptic scenes of destruction, in seaside heights , one man got a first look at his destroyed business.
>> we just cried. it's an emotional, emotional thing, you know? to lose everything like that in one night, one storm.
>> reporter: finally in places like hoboken, new jersey, a city that was overwhelm bd flooding, those lucky enough to have power are sharing it with those who don't. and people like maggie are opening their homes for anyone who need the hot meal.
>> i would so incredibly grateful that i had everything still intact that all i had to do was pay it back and pay it forward.
>> reporter: instantly becoming one of a growing number of everyday heroes .
>> that's kind of what we're dealing with here tonight. savannah guthrie starting us off this