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"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."
On Thursday, police recovered the bodies of two brothers, ages 2 and 4, who were swept away after the SUV driven by their mother, Glenda Moore, stalled in Sandy’s floodwaters Monday evening.
"Terrible, absolutely terrible," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said as he announced that Brandon and Connor had been found dead. "It just compounds all the tragic aspects of this horrific event."
The discovery was another heartbreaking blow to Staten Island, a hard-hit borough that residents complained has been largely forgotten. At least 19 people have been killed in Staten Island, about half the death toll for all of New York City.
Garbage piled up, a stench hung in the air and mud-caked mattresses and couches lined the borough’s streets. Residents picked through their belongings, searching for anything that could 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 a top Federal Emergency Management Agency official planned to tour the island.
Staten Island resident George Rosado blasted the Bloomberg for the decision to hold the marathon Sunday.
"It’s repulsive," said Rosado, who spent two days scrubbing sludge from his tiled floors and was preparing to demolish the water-logged walls of his home a block from the water.
"They should be getting resources to the elderly people who can’t fend for themselves. That’s more important than a marathon right now."
Along the devastated Jersey Shore, residents were allowed back in their neighborhoods Thursday for the first time since Sandy slammed the coast. 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 was heavily damaged. "It’s absolutely mind-boggling."
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.
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