More bodies found in storm's wake
on 02/11/2012 17:58:22
More communities were recovering power, gas and other basic needs.
The total US damage from the storm could run as high as $50bn.
The bodies of two young boys who had been torn from their mother's arms in the storm surge were recovered from a marsh in New York City's Staten Island, where at least 19 people were killed - near half of the city's death toll - and some rubbish-piled streets remained flooded.
James Molinaro, the borough's president, said the American Red Cross "is nowhere to be found."
The island is the starting point of the New York City's Marathon, the world's largest, which the city has declared would start from Staten Island as usual on Sunday and finish in Central Park. The race attracts more than 40,000 participants, with about 20,000 of them from overseas and paying hundreds of dollars to join.
Staten Island resident George Rosado blasted the city for the decision.
"It's repulsive," said Rosado, who spent two days scrubbing sludge from the tiled floors of his water-logged home. "They should be getting resources to the elderly people who can't fend for themselves. That's more important than a marathon right now."
The debate grew as residents and even undecided marathon runners debated whether resources like police officers and water should be used on the race with many people still suffering.
The New York Post's front page blared "Abuse of Power!" about generators being used at the marathon tent near the finish line. The report said race organisers had paid for them.
Joan Wacks, 58, whose Staten Island waterfront condo was trashed by the storm, called New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg "clueless without a paddle to the reality of what everyone else is dealing with."
Across the New York and New Jersey region at the heart of the natural disaster, the vast transport systems lurched to life, but tempers were short in long lines for gas.
In New York, a man was accused of pulling a gun on a motorist who complained when he cut in line at a petrol station; no one was injured. The opening of the ports promised to relieve fuel shortages.
In Brooklyn, one line for petrol snaked at least 10 blocks through narrow and busy streets. Some commuters accidentally found themselves in the line, and people got out of their cars to yell at them.
Cabdriver Harum Prince was in a Manhattan petrol line 17 blocks long. "I don't blame anybody," he said. "God, he knows why he brought this storm."
More subway and rail lines were expected to open today, including Amtrak's New York to Boston route on the Northeast Corridor. In West Virginia helicopters checked mountainous rural areas for people who may still be cut off by heavy snow.
More than 3.8 million homes and business in the East were still without power, down from a peak of 8.5 million.
Officials said power would return over the weekend to central Manhattan, where community groups began an effort to go door to door to check on the elderly and others who may not have been able to leave their homes for a fourth day because of pitch-black hallways and many flights of stairs.
"It's too much. You're in your house. You're freezing," said Geraldine Giordano, 82, a lifelong resident. 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," Ms Giordano said.
Along the devastated Jersey Shore, residents were allowed back in their neighbourhoods for the first time since Superstorm Sandy made landfall Monday night. Many homes 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, Governor Chris Christie said it was time to act, not mourn. He said Atlantic City's 12 casinos can reopen immediately. The casinos were ordered closed on Sunday.
But in Staten Island, basic recovery continued. Police recounted one mother's fruitless struggle to save her children.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said 39-year-old Glenda Moore "was totally, completely distraught" after her SUV stalled in the rising tide and she lost her grip on her sons as they tried to escape.
In a panic, she climbed fences and went door-to-door looking in vain for help in a neighbourhood 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.
"Terrible, absolutely terrible," Mr Kelly said.