Hurricane Sandy delivered a wide swath of destruction to the Northeast, but possibly nowhere more devastating than Staten Island. Half of the storm’s deaths occurred there, and residents remain without power, heat, and in some cases shelter. ABC News reported last night on the desperate pleas of those stuck in the area, telling city, state, and federal officials that they need assistance or “we are going to die”:
The residents of Staten Island are pleading for help from elected officials, begging for gasoline, food and clothing three days after Sandy slammed the New York City borough.
“We’re going to die! We’re going to freeze! We got 90-year-old people!” Donna Solli told visiting officials. “You don’t understand. You gotta get your trucks down here on the corner now. It’s been three days!”
Staten Island was one of the hardest-hit communities in New York City. More than 80,000 residents are still without power. Many are homeless, and at least 19 people died on Staten Island because of the storm.
The good news is that New York City has the generators that could help. The bad news? They’re already assigned to a much more critical task than saving the lives of 90-year-old people:
As hundreds of thousands of Big Apple residents suffer in homes left without power by Hurricane Sandy, two massive generators are being run 24/7 in Central Park — to juice a media tent for Sunday’s New York City Marathon.
And a third “backup” unit sits idle, in case one of the generators fails.
The three diesel-powered generators crank out 800 kilowatts — enough to power 400 homes in ravaged areas like Staten Island, the Rockaways and downtown Manhattan.
If you’re wondering why New York City is still holding the annual marathon, it’s because Mayor Michael Bloomberg insists that the show must go on:
Mayor Bloomberg today insisted the New York City Marathon should go on as scheduled, even as huge swaths of Gotham remain in ruins and with no electricity.
The famed five -borough race is set for Sunday, starting at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and ending in Central Park.
The mayor is banking on the restoration of electricity on several blocks of Manhattan, below 34th Street, thus relieving some police burden there.
“The marathon is not going to redirect any focus. Keep in mind by Sunday we’ll have electricity back downtown,” Bloomberg said.
These kind of events take a significant amount of resources for security, public safety, transportation, and certainly for the electricity needed to run a media event like a modern marathon. Shouldn’t the focus of the city’s resources be on, oh, saving the lives of its people in the aftermath of a disaster like this? Staten Island residents probably aren’t too keen on taking a back seat to a sporting event while they sit in the dark and the cold.