NEW YORK — From New York City’s Staten Island to the popular beach towns of the Jersey Shore, rescuers and officials today faced growing evidence of widespread destruction wrought by superstorm Sandy, mounting anger over delayed relief and a rising death toll.
The total killed in one of the biggest storms to hit the United States jumped by a third yesterday alone, to 98. In New York City, 40 people have been found dead, half of them in Staten Island, which was overrun by a wall of water on Monday.
Among the dead in Staten Island were two brothers, aged 2 and 4, who were swept from their mother’s arms after her car stalled in rising flood waters. Their bodies were found near each other in a marshy area yesterday.
US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Administrator Richard Serino planned to visit Staten Island today amid angry claims by some survivors that the borough had been ignored.
Scenes of angry storm victims could complicate matters for politicians, from President Barack Obama just four days before the general election, to governors and mayors in the most heavily populated region in the United States. Obama visited New Jersey on Wednesday and has received praise for his handling of Sandy.
“They forgot about us,” said Theresa Connor, 42, describing her Staten Island neighbourhood as having been “annihilated.” “And (Mayor Michael) Bloomberg said New York is fine. The marathon is on!”
Fury has been escalating throughout New York at Bloomberg’s decision to proceed with the world’s largest marathon on Sunday, vowing the event – which attracts more than 40,000 runners – would not divert any resources storm victims.
“If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream,” New York City Councilman James Oddo said on his Twitter account. “We have people with no homes and no hope right now.”
Staten Island, which lies across New York Harbour from lower Manhattan, is home to about 500,000 residents, many blue-collar workers whose families have lived there for generations. (Reuters)