Tempers Fray as NY Shifts from Recovery to Rebuilding

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Focus in the Northeast is shifting Monday from recovery to re-building. Authorities warn the process will take time, but power outages, travel delays and fuel shortages have tempers wearing thin.

Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, more than 70,000 customers are still without power, most of them in Long Island, N.Y.

"It's not even anger now," one New York resident said. "Now it's just broken people. People are being broken."

Meanwhile, New Yorkers are facing another day of fuel rationing.

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to cut down on the lines at gas stations by implementing an even-odd system. That means gas is available one day to drivers with license plate numbers ending in an odd number and the next day to plates ending in an even number.

"It went a lot faster," motorist Margie Pitta said. "We have to do what we have to do, right?"

Then there are the coastal communities: areas where homes were completely destroyed and in some places, actually washed away.

CBN's Operation Blessing is on site in those areas. Volunteers are distributing much needed supplies, hot meals, and help to residents cleaning up their homes.

"I never knew what you people did," one resident said. "And now I'm one of those people who need the help. And all these years I've donated for other people and now I'm one of these people who needs the donation."

Another storm-affected resident said, "I thank God for Operation Blessing coming out to donate food and blankets that we so need because the supermarkets around here are so limited."

"This is a case where, like September 11, we're relying on help from others, so thank you," one New York police officer said.

Volunteers come from across the country, including one group from Louisiana, looking to give back to others.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, New Jersey police were among the first to help. Those Katrina victims said that help has not been forgotten.

"We pay it forward. You all came to us in our dire need," one Louisiana volunteer said.

There are many signs of recovery today as well. Power has been restored for thousands, many bridges and tunnels are re-opening, and limited train and ferry services are back up and running.

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Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.