Staten Island After Sandy: Don’t Forget Us Down Here

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155425925JM00009_NEW_YORK_A Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Often referred to as the forgotten borough, Staten Island is still suffering after Hurricane Sandy. "We're gonna die! We're gonna freeze! We've got 90-year-old people!" one resident pleaded to CBS. Somber, frustrated refrains like that have been common from residents this week, and they're just now being answered: The Red Cross arrived late yesterday, with FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano due in the area today to discuss recovery efforts. "Though people don't talk about Staten Island much," another local explained, "people are here, a lot of people are hurting, so it's upsetting."

At least 19 of the 40 deaths from the storm reported so far in New York City occurred in Staten Island, including the tragic loss of two young boys:

The police found the little boys’ bodies in the cattails at the end of a dead-end street. The police said their mother, Glenda Moore, 39, had packed them into her blue sport utility vehicle and was trying to flee the storm by driving to her sister’s home in Brooklyn.

The storm thwarted her getaway, first by stalling the engine, the police said.

Ms. Moore managed to step out of the S.U.V., taking 2-year-old Brendan in her arms and leading 4-year-old Connor by the hand. But a wave slammed into them, driving her and Brendan into the marsh and breaking her hold on Connor’s hand. Another wave carried him away moments later.

Those left in the wake are ready to start rebuilding, but they need a hand. "The city is not really doing anything," one woman told the Staten Island Advance. "We need the federal government to come here and give us fuel and the generators," to aid with the cleanup. "If you make the people normal again, we can help ourselves."

In a practical and symbolic victory, the Staten Island Ferry will resume service at noon today.

But residents are in no rush to pretend that everything is normal, for instance, by hosting the start of the New York City marathon on Sunday. "We are far from fine and the fact that the mayor wants to have a marathon this weekend when we have people who lost either their lives or lost their entire house," said one Staten Islander. "I mean, it's unbelievable to me." After the race, they'll have a long way to go.