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Isolated NYC borough says help is slow after Sandy

  • Brooke Clarkin tries to salvage some personal items from her mother's home in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Her mother's home was not only flooded to the ceiling, but was swept off its foundation and was carried to the other side of the street. The National Guard and federal emergency management officials will deliver 1 million meals and bottled water to New York areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Brooke Clarkin tries to salvage some personal items from her mother's home in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Her mother's home was not only flooded to the ceiling, but was swept off its foundation and was carried to the other side of the street. The National Guard and federal emergency management officials will deliver 1 million meals and bottled water to New York areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
  • Damian Moore, reacts as he approaches the scene where at least one of his childrens' bodies were discovered in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Brandon Moore, 2, and Connor Moore, 4, were swiped into swirling waters as their mother tried to escape her SUV on Monday amid rushing waters that caused the vehicle to stall during Superstorm Sandy.  Police said the mother, Glenda Moore, was going to her sister's home in Brooklyn when she tried to flee the vehicle with the boys, only to have the force of the rising water and the relentless cadence of pounding waves rip the boy's small arms from her.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Damian Moore, reacts as he approaches the scene where at least one of his childrens' bodies were discovered in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Brandon Moore, 2, and Connor Moore, 4, were swiped into swirling waters as their mother tried to escape her SUV on Monday amid rushing waters that caused the vehicle to stall during Superstorm Sandy. Police said the mother, Glenda Moore, was going to her sister's home in Brooklyn when she tried to flee the vehicle with the boys, only to have the force of the rising water and the relentless cadence of pounding waves rip the boy's small arms from her. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
  • Glenda Moore, and her husband, Damian Moore, react as they approach the scene where at least one of their childrens' bodies were discovered in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Brandon Moore, 2, and Connor Moore, 4, were swiped into swirling waters as their mother tried to escape her SUV on Monday amid rushing waters that caused the vehicle to stall during Superstorm Sandy.  Police said the mother, Glenda Moore, was going to her sister's home in Brooklyn when she tried to flee the vehicle with the boys, only to have the force of the rising water and the relentless cadence of pounding waves rip the boy's small arms from her.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Glenda Moore, and her husband, Damian Moore, react as they approach the scene where at least one of their childrens' bodies were discovered in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Brandon Moore, 2, and Connor Moore, 4, were swiped into swirling waters as their mother tried to escape her SUV on Monday amid rushing waters that caused the vehicle to stall during Superstorm Sandy. Police said the mother, Glenda Moore, was going to her sister's home in Brooklyn when she tried to flee the vehicle with the boys, only to have the force of the rising water and the relentless cadence of pounding waves rip the boy's small arms from her. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
  • Police officers wearing wet suits leave a site where the body of a 2-year-old child killed during Superstorm Sandy was discovered in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Brandon Moore, 2, and Connor Moore, 4, were swiped into swirling waters as their mother tried to escape her SUV on Monday amid rushing waters that caused the vehicle to stall during Superstorm Sandy.  Police said the mother, Glenda Moore, was going to her sister's home in Brooklyn when she tried to flee the vehicle with the boys, only to have the force of the rising water and the relentless cadence of pounding waves rip the boy's small arms from her.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Police officers wearing wet suits leave a site where the body of a 2-year-old child killed during Superstorm Sandy was discovered in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Brandon Moore, 2, and Connor Moore, 4, were swiped into swirling waters as their mother tried to escape her SUV on Monday amid rushing waters that caused the vehicle to stall during Superstorm Sandy. Police said the mother, Glenda Moore, was going to her sister's home in Brooklyn when she tried to flee the vehicle with the boys, only to have the force of the rising water and the relentless cadence of pounding waves rip the boy's small arms from her. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
  • Eileen Miley looks for magnets that might be salvageable at her home that was destroyed by flooding during Superstorm Sandy in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. The National Guard and federal emergency management officials will deliver 1 million meals and bottled water to New York areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Eileen Miley looks for magnets that might be salvageable at her home that was destroyed by flooding during Superstorm Sandy in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. The National Guard and federal emergency management officials will deliver 1 million meals and bottled water to New York areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
  • NYPD police officers perform a search in high grasses that were flooded during a storm surge, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Arrochar neighborhood of the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)NYPD police officers perform a search in high grasses that were flooded during a storm surge, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Arrochar neighborhood of the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • A man waits for gasoline, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses.(AP Photo/ John Minchillo)A man waits for gasoline, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses.(AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • A yacht rests beside two homes after it was driven inland by flood waters, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses.(AP Photo/ John Minchillo)A yacht rests beside two homes after it was driven inland by flood waters, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses.(AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • This undated image provided by Arcadis shows the Dutch engineering firmís proposal to build a barrier in the Verrazano Narrows between New York's Brooklyn borough and Staten Island, shielding the Upper New York Bay. This barrier would be supplemented by two smaller barriers, one between Staten Island and New Jersey and the other on the East River. The vast destruction wreaked by the storm surge in New York could have been prevented with a sea barrier of the type that protects major cities in Europe, scientists and engineers say. The multibillion price tag of such a project has been a hindrance, but may appear more palatable after the damage from Superstorm Sandy has been tallied. (AP Photo/Arcadis)This undated image provided by Arcadis shows the Dutch engineering firmís proposal to build a barrier in the Verrazano Narrows between New York's Brooklyn borough and Staten Island, shielding the Upper New York Bay. This barrier would be supplemented by two smaller barriers, one between Staten Island and New Jersey and the other on the East River. The vast destruction wreaked by the storm surge in New York could have been prevented with a sea barrier of the type that protects major cities in Europe, scientists and engineers say. The multibillion price tag of such a project has been a hindrance, but may appear more palatable after the damage from Superstorm Sandy has been tallied. (AP Photo/Arcadis)
  • Lisa Kravchenko, of Staten Island, stands amongst flood debris in her princess Halloween costume, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)Lisa Kravchenko, of Staten Island, stands amongst flood debris in her princess Halloween costume, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • A passenger inspects the water level around his vehicle as multiple cars drive through  a flooded street, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)A passenger inspects the water level around his vehicle as multiple cars drive through a flooded street, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • Rescue workers check a home for fuel leaks and other types of damage, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)Rescue workers check a home for fuel leaks and other types of damage, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • A vehicle is submerged after being carried into a swampy depression by floodwaters, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)A vehicle is submerged after being carried into a swampy depression by floodwaters, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • Mike Cappucci, 46, of Staten Island, surveys the damage to his home after boats from a nearby harbor were driven inland by floodwaters, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)Mike Cappucci, 46, of Staten Island, surveys the damage to his home after boats from a nearby harbor were driven inland by floodwaters, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • A NYPD police officer performs a search in high grasses that were flooded during a storm surge, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Arrochar neighborhood of the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)A NYPD police officer performs a search in high grasses that were flooded during a storm surge, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Arrochar neighborhood of the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • Customers form a queue to fill their gasoline canisters, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses.(AP Photo/ John Minchillo)Customers form a queue to fill their gasoline canisters, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses.(AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • A 168-foot water tanker, the John B. Caddell, sits on the shore Tuesday morning, Oct. 30, 2012 where it ran aground on Front Street in the Stapleton neighborhood of New York's Staten Island as a result of superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Sean Sweeney) A 168-foot water tanker, the John B. Caddell, sits on the shore Tuesday morning, Oct. 30, 2012 where it ran aground on Front Street in the Stapleton neighborhood of New York's Staten Island as a result of superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Sean Sweeney)
  • A woman stands in a street flooded by superstorm Sandy, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)A woman stands in a street flooded by superstorm Sandy, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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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.

"Everybody's tired of it already," added Rosemarie Zurlo, a makeup artist who once worked on Woody Allen movies. She said she planned to temporarily abandon her powerless, unheated apartment in the West Village to stay with her sister in Brooklyn. "I'm leaving because I'm freezing. My apartment is ice cold."

There was increasing concern about the outage's impact on elderly residents. Community groups have been going door-to-door on the upper floors of darkened Manhattan apartment buildings, and city workers and volunteer in hard-hit Newark, N.J., delivered meals to seniors and others stuck in their buildings.

"It's been mostly older folks who aren't able to get out," said Monique George of Manhattan-based Community Voices Heard. "In some cases, they hadn't talked to folks in a few days. They haven't even seen anybody because the neighbors evacuated. They're actually happy that folks are checking, happy to see another person. To not see someone for a few days, in this city, it's kind of weird."

Along the devastated Jersey Shore and New York's beachfront communities, a lack of electricity was the least of anyone's worries.

Residents were allowed back in their neighborhoods Thursday for the first time since Sandy made landfall Monday night. Some were relieved to find only minor damage, but many others were wiped out. "A lot of tears are being shed today," said Dennis Cucci, whose home near the ocean in Point Pleasant Beach sustained heavy damage. "It's absolutely mind-boggling."

After touring a flood-ravaged area of northeastern New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie said it was time to act, not mourn.

"We're in the 'triage and attack phase' of the storm, so we can restore power, reopen schools, get public transportation back online and allow people to return to their homes if they've been displaced," he said.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood planned to visit Christie's state Friday.

Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday announced the federal government will be providing rail cars to help NJ Transit get train service up and running. The governor said 25 percent of the system's rail cars were in yards that flooded.

LaHood's schedule has not yet been released

In Staten Island, police recounted Glenda Moore's fruitless struggle to save her children.

Kelly said the 39-year-old mother "was totally, completely distraught" after she lost her grip on her sons shortly after 6 p.m. Monday. In a panic, she climbed fences and went door-to-door looking in vain for help in a neighborhood that was presumably largely abandoned in the face of the storm.

She eventually gave up, spending the night trying to shield herself from the storm on the front porch of an empty home.

___

Associated Press writers Cara Anna and Karen Matthews in New York, David Porter in Moonachie, N.J., and Wayne Parry in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., contributed to this story.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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