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Thousands trapped in New Jersey town -

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ELEANOR HALL: While the floodwaters have receded from Manhattan, just across the Hudson River in the New Jersey city of Hoboken, large parts of the community are still underwater.

Thousands of people are trapped in their homes and the water surrounding them is a toxic mix of seawater, fuel and raw sewage.

The mayor of Hoboken has called for people to bring boats to the City Hall to help with the rescue but until then, the only vehicles that can get through are large army trucks.

They're not just bringing people out - they're also taking in emergency supplies to people who may be waiting days to be rescued.

Our reporter Ben Knight is in Hoboken - he spoke to the county commissioner, Anthony Romano, who is overseeing the loading of the trucks.

ANTHONY ROMANO: Well, the water is starting to recede thank god but also that the residents that have been unable to leave their residence in the western part of town that is the most severely affected, need obviously water and food.

BEN KNIGHT: How many people are still trapped down there?

ANTHONY ROMANO: There is a large number of people that are affected, in the thousands.

BEN KNIGHT: So thousands of people still in this, what is really quite a smallish town, stuck in their homes with no way to get out?

ANTHONY ROMANO: The city itself is a mile square but the dense, the population density for its size is tremendous.

BEN KNIGHT: What are they doing down there?

ANTHONY ROMANO: Well, the people to their credit have not panicked. They are in their homes. Last night when we passed through we seen different residents sitting out. We yelled up to them is everyone okay and they seem to be pretty calm.

I mean the obvious concern is food and water but most of the town is without any electricity plus the water that is in the street is combined with sewerage so the sooner it recedes and the public service crews can get down there and make repairs to the various substations and transformers that are not functioning, the better.

BEN KNIGHT: I mean these army trucks, they're on the streets of this city. It is a very strange sight for me, it must be even stranger for you?

ANTHONY ROMANO: It's very reassuring to me. Obviously we need their help and their equipment and hopefully we can get the power restored before the temperature drops.

BEN KNIGHT: I spoke with some people who came back to their homes today even though there is no power, even though there is still water in the basement because they have to go to work tomorrow. How soon before life just gets back to normal?

ANTHONY ROMANO: It's going to take time. This is not going to be a two or three day, everything is back to normal condition. You have real, real problems here - to clear out the water, to repair all the boilers and generators in the different homes and hopefully we can get the main power on by PSE&G (Public Service Enterprise Group) as soon as possible. We still don't know when that is going to come back on.

BEN KNIGHT: What if this happens again?

ANTHONY ROMANO: Hopefully you try to learn what you can and try to make adjustments to always be as proactive as you can but sometimes Mother Nature just runs its course.

ELEANOR HALL: That is county commissioner, Anthony Romano speaking to our reporter Ben Knight in New Jersey.