Staten island is a total mess, and most people in New Jersey are having trouble finding gasoline for their vehicles or their generators. Four days after landfall there are still around 4 million without electricity. It's normal human nature to first be damn glad that you are still alive, but then after the passage of time, to get extemely cranky and start screaming I am sick and tired of it for god sake make it stop!
But one must also be realistic. There are reasons for the massive gasoline shortage. The power outage feeds the gas problem, because you need power to run a pump. This has happened before in a storm aftermath and nobody has an easy answer.
in another posting here on gather someone discussed the woman who lost her two young sons to the raging waters of Sandy, asking the question do we have a responsibility to rescue someone in that situation? the answer to that is NO. Look, when the wind is blowing at 80 mph and the tidal surge is floating cars like toy boats, any unequippd effort to rescue somebody in it is just going to result in the death of the rescuer. what do you want me to say?
The recovery effort will be self adjusting. When the local resources prove inadequate, call in the national guard, as was done in Hoboken. If it becomes unrealistic for people to stay on their homes on the islands, without heat and power, then they will need to be evacuated to the mainland- and maybe allowed to return to their homes to condiuct salvage and repair work only during daylight.
the scale of the disaster becomes clear only when you start to try to fix it. the recovery from Sandy will definitely take at least several months. Or maybe years? could be. And as I stated in another post, we should not attempt a recovery that will leave things exactly as they were before Sandy happened. I think it is appropriate to consider ways to prevent a repeat later. Some of the most vulnerable areas on the barrier islands should not be rebuilt. the south Manhattan subway tunnel entrances should have retractable plugs or barriers, because pumping seawater out of a subway tunnel is terribly difficult and leaves you a product that may still be subject to corrosion.