Some $18 million in federal relief aid has been disbursed so far in the wake of the storm. Much of it is in the form of rental assistance, which can extend for up to 18 months for those with major home damage.
"A lot of folks who flooded did not have flood insurance," said Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate. "The lessons (we) learned from the past is not to wait to see how bad it is."
On Friday, Air Force planes began carrying 632 tons of equipment and supplies, including 69 vehicles, from California to the New York region.
Elsewhere, signs of recovery sprouted: trains grinding back to limited service, buses hauling commuters down roads strewn with debris.
Neighborhoods were rising up after being beaten down by a 900-mile-wide superstorm that claimed at least 106 lives in the United States, two in Canada and 67 in the Caribbean.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino traveled to Staten Island on Friday to survey recovery efforts.
"We know that Staten Island took a particularly hard hit from Sandy," said Napolitano. "We want to make sure that the right resources are brought here as quickly as possible."
Ahead of her visit, Napolitano issued a temporary waiver of the Jones Act, a move that allows oil tankers coming in from the Gulf of Mexico to enter Northeastern ports to relieve fuel shortages.
"The administration's highest priority is ensuring the health and safety of those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and this waiver will remove a potential obstacle to bringing additional fuel to the storm-damaged region," she said.
The move also waives clean air admission requirements, allowing more refined oil to be brought into the region, though where it goes from there is unclear.
"Just getting the product there doesn't get it to the retail site," said Fugate. "Many of the gas stations don't have power."
Worst-hit New York state suffered 48 deaths, including 41 in New York City, authorities said. Twenty of the dead were killed in Staten Island, where the latest deaths included two boys ages 4 and 2, ripped from their mother's arms by floodwater.
In addition to the human toll, the price for damage is stunning: between $30 billion and $50 billion, according to disaster modeling firm EQECAT.
That far exceeds EQECAT's pre-storm estimate of $20 billion.
Authorities scrambled to restore basic services, including hobbled transportation.
Amtrak said modified service was to resume Friday between Boston and Washington via New York City. In New York City, limited subway service resumed Thursday. A flotilla of 4,000 buses is taking up the slack.
Neighboring New Jersey, which suffered 13 deaths linked to the storm, planned to restore limited rail service Friday.
In areas where entire neighborhoods remain dark, utilities worked to restore services.
Con Edison, a New York utility company, has passed the "halfway mark," having restored approximately 460,000 of the 910,000 customers who were affected by Sandy, according to John Miksad, senior vice president of electric operations.
"We're doing our damnedest to get our power back as quickly as possible," he said.