Hurricane Sandy has left Staten Island, N.Y. an island where death is stalking. Nineteen people are dead already, including two young brothers, 2 and 4 years old, who were swept out of their mother’s arms when waves caused by the storm crashed into the family’s SUV, their bodies found 48 hours later on a dead-end street.
More than 80,000 residents still don’t have power; three days after the storm hit, many people are homeless or panicked. One woman cried to officials from the city: “We’re going to die! We’re going to freeze! We got 90-year-old people! You don’t understand. You gotta get your trucks down here on the corner now. It’s been three days!”
Staten Island officials were becoming increasingly agitated about the lack of aid and supplies; they blasted the Red Cross for their absence. Staten Island Borough President Jim Molinaro was furious: “This is America, not a third world nation. We need food, we need clothing,” he fumed. “My advice to the people of Staten Island is: Don’t donate to the American Red Cross. Put their money elsewhere.”
The Red Cross and the National Guard finally arrived in the area late Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the New York City Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, and so far, there has been no change in the itinerary, which includes the race’s staging area on Staten Island. Molinaro was irritated at the very idea of using Staten Island as a location for the marathon and quite blunt about the bleak state of affairs:
My God. What we have here is terrible, a disaster. If they want to race, let them race with themselves. This is no time for a parade. A marathon is a parade. Now is the time to put your shoulder to the wheel. If they want to prepare for something, let them prepare for the election, not a marathon. Do you realize how many police officers you need for a marathon? There are people looting stores on Midland Avenue. There is looting taking place in the homes on the South Shore that were destroyed. That is where we need the police.