Staten Island Sandy victims: We're being ignored

(CBS News) Nearly half of New York City's deaths from superstorm Sandy happened in Staten Island.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is going there Friday. People there say they're suffering -- and not getting enough help. Some residents have been calling the area "the forgotten borough."

Complete coverage of superstorm Sandy

Across storm-ravaged Staten Island, frustrations are mounting. One resident there told CBS station WCBS, "We're gonna die! We're gonna freeze! We've got 90-year-old people!"

Residents are outraged, claiming their community has been ignored in the days following Sandy while aid pours into other parts of New York and New Jersey. Natvel Pritchard, of Staten Island, said, "Though people don't talk about Staten Island much, people are here, a lot of people are hurting, so it's upsetting."

Pictures: Before-and-after views of Sandy destruction
Hurricane Sandy: Most dramatic images

Power is out, hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and dozens of streets are impassable. Still, the city is planning to go ahead with its annual marathon, which kicks off on Staten Island's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Sunday.

Resident Nicole Malliotakis said, "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. I mean, it's unbelievable to me."

The area of new York - home to 500,000 - suffered some of the worst destruction. At least 19 of the 41 people who died in New York City lived on Staten Island.

More heartbreak came Thursday when searchers discovered the bodies of two little boys. Monday night while driving through the storm, Glenda Moore's SUV got stuck in the flood waters. Moore rescued her boys, 2-year-old Brandon and 4-year-old Connor. But authorities say when Moore knocked nearby doors for help, she couldn't find any.

Fire Department of New York Borough Cmmdr. Mike Marrone said, "The way she described as the waters were flowing, (they) basically just ripped the kids out of her arm. She was holding them by the hand."

The storm's power and might caught many by surprise. Grace Casio, a storm victim on Staten Island, said, "I have never witnessed what I saw Monday. Never witnessed. Never. This was the worst."

Aid is beginning to arrive. Dozens of people lined up for free dry ice Thursday and the Red Cross started handing out ready-to-eat meals. But some say that's not enough.

"It's great that it's something, but I honestly expected maybe like a blanket," a resident said. "How long is this going to last? I mean, it's just a joke."

Marrone said his workers are doing everything they can. City officials insist more help is on the way. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said there will be more bottled water and ready-to-eat meals coming to Staten Island. Whether that will be enough for people, or whether they'll think they're doing enough is still a question.

For Anna Werner's full report, watch the video in the player above.

Comments