Partially Powered Manhattan (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Being in NYC after the big devastation to many areas of New York and New Jersey was not as daunting as I had presumed it would be. I went in expecting there to be evidence of Hurricane Sandy's wrath ten-fold in Manhattan, and was only confronted by delayed subways. So I decided to dig deeper and investigate the areas that needed the most help, the people who were still left in pitch black, with no homes and cold. What I found was disheartening, hopeful and enlightened.

Blackout conditions in Manhattan (Allison Joyce/Getty-Images)
Carey Tunnel (Andrew Burton/AFP/Getty Images)
Seawater pours into the Ground Zero construction site in New York, on October 29, 2012. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Jersey Shore (Tim Larsen/New Jersey Governor's Office)
New Jersey Seaside Devastation (Tim Larsen)
New Jersey Seaside (NYDaily)
As this post-tropical storm wreaked havoc, it took the lives of close to 100 people in the US, destroying lives from Florida to Wisconsin along the way. It made record waves of nearly 14ft in New York, brought the city that never sleeps to a grinding halt, and forced over 400,000 people to seek shelter elsewhere but their homes. Sandy was blamed for more than 2.8 million outages across the northeast and the forced closure of all three of New York's major airports.

On the upside, there are many amazing projects in which many locals have been engaged. Here, a sense of community, in a place that often leaves me feeling inspired and alone, was evident, with many of my friends relaying stories about the people they met through volunteering and the lives changed through their compassion. I found that there were many ways that locals and outsiders can help in the cleanup and restoration of many of these places hit by Sandy, so if you are interested, instead of listing them, you can visit the CBS website for a detailed list of how you can help HERE.

Andrew Burton - Waiting for Gas
REUTERS-Andrew Burton. Christine Wakefield, a volunteer, organizes donated goods that is being housed in an Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) bus in the Midland Beach neighbourhood of Staten Island, New York November 9, 2012.
A mother and her two children seek refuge in a Red Cross shelter - Red Cross
Finally, whilst many of us were preoccupied with the devastation in USA, most of us were not aware of the even greater damage it was having in the Caribbean, almost a week before it reached New York. With more than 69 people dead, and irreparable damages to homes, families, and cities Sandy struck way before she traveled northwards and found her media stardom. The most damages afflicted Haiti, Dominica, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Cuba. In Jamaica, 70% of residents were left without electricity. In Haiti, at least 54 people died, and 200,000 people were left homeless. In Cuba 11 people died and 15,000 homes were destroyed...and the list goes on in Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Dominica all felt Sandy's wrath. In both Cuba and Haiti there have been reported food shortages and an increase in food prices, which further sets these countries back in terms of development. To volunteer in these areas remotely, OPERATION USA & the INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CORPS are taking donations. You can also donate to the Red Cross and help in their goal to prepare Haiti in the short and long term.

Driving in Cuba - Ramon Espinosa/AP
Debris on the streets of Santiago de Cuba, Cuba - Reuters
UN Peacekeeper Stands near bridge washed away by Sandy Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Images
Red Cross Distribution of Food, Haiti - Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Images
Children on a cot whilst water raises in their home, Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Dieu Nalio Chery/AP
Boy looks on as Sandy-made-river sweeps away his village. AP

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