NEW YORK (AP) — The mother grabbed her two boys and fled their home as it filled with water, hoping to outrun Superstorm Sandy.
But Glenda Moore and her SUV were no match for the epic storm. Moore’s Ford Explorer stalled in the rising tide, and the rushing waters snatched 2-year-old Brandon and 4-year-old Connor from her arms as they tried to escape.
The youngsters’ bodies were recovered from a marsh Thursday — the latest, most gut-wrenching blow in New York’s Staten Island, an isolated city borough hard-hit by the storm and yet, residents say, largely forgotten by federal officials assessing damage of the monster storm that has killed more than 90 people in 10 states.
“Terrible, absolutely terrible,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said as he announced the boys’ bodies had been found on the third day of a search that included police divers and sniffer dogs. “It just compounds all the tragic aspects of this horrific event.”
The heartbreaking discovery came as residents and public officials complained that help has been frustratingly slow to arrive on stricken Staten Island, where 19 have been killed — nearly half the death toll of all of New York City.
Garbage is piling up, a stench hangs in the air and mud-caked mattresses and couches line the streets. Residents are sifting through the remains of their homes, searching for anything that can be salvaged.
“We have hundreds of people in shelters,” said James Molinaro, the borough’s president. “Many of them, when the shelters close, have nowhere to go because their homes are destroyed. These are not homeless people. They’re homeless now.”
Molinaro complained the American Red Cross “is nowhere to be found” — and some residents questioned what they called the lack of a response by government disaster relief agencies.
A relief fund is being created just for storm survivors on Staten Island, Molinaro and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Friday. And Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Administrator Richard Serino planned to tour the island.
Four days after Sandy lashed the East Coast with high winds and a huge storm surge, frustration mounted across New York City and well beyond as millions of people remained without power and motorists lined up for hours at gas stations in New Jersey and New York.
In the city’s Queens borough, a man was accused of pulling a gun Thursday on a motorist who complained when he cut in line at a gas station; no one was injured. And as the Friday morning commute began, long lines at gas stations in suburban Westchester County snaked along expressway breakdown lanes and exit ramps.
There were hopeful signs, though, that life would soon begin to return to something approaching normal.
Consolidated Edison, the power company serving New York, said electricity should be restored by Saturday to customers in Manhattan and to homes and offices served by underground power lines in Brooklyn. More subway and rail lines were expected to open Friday, including Amtrak’ New York to Boston route on the Northeast Corridor.
But the prospect of better times ahead did little to mollify residents who spent another day and night in the dark.
“It’s too much. You’re in your house. You’re freezing,” said Geraldine Giordano, 82, a lifelong resident of the West Village. Near her home, city employees had set up a sink where residents could get fresh water, if they needed it. There were few takers. “Nobody wants to drink that water,” Giordano said.