Staten Island, just a ferry ride from Manhattan but often seen as the neglected stepchild of the New York metropolis, apparently was the city's deadliest zone in Superstorm Sandy – accounting for half the human toll.
On Thursday the bodies of two young boys who were swept away from their mother’s grasp during the storm surge were recovered, NBC News reported. A missing husband and wife were also found dead Thursday, NBCNewYork.com reported.
That brought the toll on the island to 19, NBCNewYork.com reported. On Thursday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Superstorm Sandy is responsible for the deaths of at least 37 New Yorkers.
Indeed, Staten Island, which took a direct blow from Sandy, is a scene of immeasurable misery and utter devastation, with homes obliterated, others off their foundations in addition to widespread flooding.
"The city of New York right now is talking about getting water out of the Battery Tunnel and preparing for a marathon," U.S. Rep. Rep. Michael Grimm said. "We're pulling bodies out of the water. You see the disconnect here?"
NYPD officials have denied to NBC News that Staten Island’s working class neighborhoods have come after wealthier areas.
“We are heading into the area where there is major destruction now,” Red Cross spokeswoman Anne Marie Borrego told NBC News late Thursday.
The Red Cross, Borrego said, has five emergency response stations set up at New Dorp Lane in the borough and the organization’s New York CEO, Josh Lockwood, is on the scene.
While looking over the wreckage of his cousin's house on Thursday, Tom Monigan talked about his cousin George Dresch, who died in the surge of water with his daughter Angela, 13, on Staten Island. George Dresch's wife Patricia was reported to be in critical condition at the hospital.
"Not in a million years, did I expect to see this," Monigan told NBC News. "This is unbelievable, I mean for George to lose his life and his daughter and his wife to be in the condition she's in it's a sin, it's unreal, I can't believe I'm looking at this. Terrible."
"You can replace this stuff, but it's what happens to people," Monigan said, "it changes their life forever and it's terrible. People are worried because they don't have electricity, Jesus, this is the real deal right here."
Rescue workers who are part of a task force of searchers gathered on Staten Island on Thursday have fanned out with maps to search the hardest hit areas in the city. Large trucks and other equipment with Homeland Security decals began arriving late in the day on Sunday.
Phyllis Puglia didn't lose any family members, but she did lose lose virtually everything else. "I want to go home," Puglia told NBC News' Ann Curry. "But there's no home. I can't go home and that's killing me. That's breaking my heart.”