Despite the election being less than a week away, storm Sandy has blown the US presidential campaign off course.
President Barack Obama cancelled his travel plans and returned to the White House to personally oversee the relief operation.
He later visited the Red Cross in Washington calling for a coordinated effort:
“My message to the Federal government, no bureaucracy, no red tape, get ressources where they’re needed as fast as possible, as hard as possible and for the duration; because the recovery process in a place like New Jersey is gonna take a significant amount of time, the recovery process in Lower Manhattan is gonna take a lot of time.”
A planned Republican rally in Ohio was hastily rearranged into a storm relief effort that saw residents donate food another other supplies to the victims.
Republican opponent Mitt Romney urged people to be generous in their support:
“We wont be able to solve all the problems with our effort this morning. There are a lot of people that will still be looking for goods. But I know, one of the things I learned in life is – you make the difference you can.”
Romney stayed behind to help load a truck with tinned food to be sent to a distribution centre in New Jersey.
On Wednesday Obama will visit areas worst hit by the storm while Romney travels to Florida to continue campaigning.