Some help is finally on the way for Staten Island residents -- many without power, basic supplies and gas -- who are loudly voicing feelings of abandonment, including Borough President James Molinaro.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg toured the Tottenville area of Staten Island Wednesday, speaking with residents and surveying the flooded streets, downed trees and destroyed homes.
On Thursday, Bloomberg announced that the National Guard and volunteers would begin distributing food and water in New Dorp and Tottenville at 3 p.m. The Original SoupMan even gave a hand, passing out free soup at the corner of Ebbitts St. and Roma Ave.
For many residents and the borough president, however, it was too little too late. Borough President James Molinaro blasted the Red Cross at a Thursday press conference, calling the response “an absolute disgrace,” even asking the public to donate elsewhere.
Molinaro explained the comment to NBC after the press conference, saying, “You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there’s a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they? I was at the South Shore yesterday, people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies. The people there, the neighbors who had no electricity, were making soup. Making soup. It’s very emotional because the lack of a response. The lack of a response. They’re supposed to be here….They should be on the front lines fighting, and helping the people.”
Meanwhile the death toll continues to climb, with the latest count at 19, according to the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information.
Jessica Tucciarelli from Midland Beach -- one of the hardest hit areas -- described Staten Island as a war zone. "Water went into my home ... in that water there is gas, oil and sewage," Tucciarelli said. "There are many missing people and many bodies being found ... It's surreal, Something I never imagined would happen."
Grim news spread Thursday morning that the bodies of two Staten Island boys, swept from the reach of their mother during the storm, had been found. Connor Moore, 4 and his brother Brendan, 2, were found just 20 yards from each other in a swampy area of South Beach.
“I got sick, I cried all night last night, my husband was upset,” said neighbor Judy Mironovich. “They were great parents.”
More than 60 emergency services police officers, in dry suits, had been combing the swamp sin., looking for two young brothers, who got separated from their mother in the storm surge of hurricane Sandy Monday night.
Rose Valentino, lives on the same street where they found the dead children. "I heard the mother screaming, and the father was frantic, it was a scary sound."
Search and rescue teams from other states are helping to rescue residents still stranded and recover Bodies of those who perished in the storm.
According to the Staten Island Borough website, anyone with donations of food, water, clothing, baby items, blankets, towels, and toiletries can drop them off at the following locations:
St. Christopher’s Church Community Center, 136 Midland Avenue 10306
Cespino-Russo Post, 200 McClean Avenue 10305
International Christian Center, 1501 Richmond Avenue 10314
St. Clare’s Church, 110 Nelson Avenue 10308
Project Hospitality, 100 Park Avenue 10302