Rock Center | November 01, 2012
>> building in new york tonight. anger as you saw over the fact that the city thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and host the new york city marathon this weekend despite power outages and standing water . and anger is boiling as you also might have seen in staten island , a part of new york closer to new jersey, surrounded by water, temporarily cut off from the rest of the world and suffering. nbc's ann curry is there.
>> reporter: it's becoming clear that staten island , an area three times the size of manhattan, is about 500,000 people suffer some of the greatest losses in all of new york . so far, 19 bodies have been recovered here and while many of the deaths occurred in evacuation areas, today residents complained about a lack of desperately needed help, and their anger exploded.
>> we need help immediately. we have nowhere to live. we have small children that have to go back to school on monday. they have no clothes to wear. and we cannot live in our homes. something has to be done immediately, not 14 days from now, today.
>> it was a bull's- eye of the storm . fema's not here. they're in new jersey, breezy point. they're everywhere, not an staten island . every single person on this block lost everything. do you know how many people died on this block? they're pulling goods out.
>> reporter: it's hard to imagine anyone could neglect staten islanders when their stories are so harrowing. the sea water rose so fast, it was upon them in minutes. there was an off-duty police officer who rushed his family to safety in his attic and then is thought to have been electrocuted. and there was little diane could do but stand inside her living room holding her 89-year-old mother as the water rose. her mother drowned. and this afternoon, in a stoaten island marsh, the discovery of the bodies of two boys dragged from their mother's arms from floodwaters. some residents fear they haven't seen the end of it.
>> they're still looking for dead bodies . people held unaccounted for. this death toll is going up. but you need to come here and see it. we need help, please.
>> reporter: the frustration was directed at the red cross --
>> the american red cross was nowhere to be found. all the american red cross , all these people making these big salaries should be out there on the front lines. and i am disappointed.
>> reporter: the red cross says it is working to set up a mobile food kitchen and has ten emergency vehicles on the way. and today, some help was in plain view on staten island . emergency teams went house to house checking for signs of life , marking each home just was was done in new orleans. nypd inspector says new york police are doing their best. how do you account for the outrage?
>> i can understand their pain and how they feel. and i just want them to understand that as best they can, i know the city of new york , i know the mayor and the police commissioner are doing everything they can to get these people back on their feet.
>> reporter: meanwhile, others are trying to cope on their own. phyllis has been living in staten island since 1997 . and she saw disaster brewing. she and her husband evacuated to safety and stayed with family on higher ground. after she saw that her home was lifted away, she went looking for it. the 62-year-old grandmother made her way across a waterlogged field of debris and found her greatest treasures scattered nearly a half mile away.
>> that's my mom. my father. my mom was a simple lady.
>> reporter: did you have any copies of this?
>> no. this is the only wedding photograph of my mom.
>> reporter: finding all these photographs --
>> they mean the world to me.
>> reporter: but most of phyllis and her husband's world is gone.
>> our whole life is here. how do we start over? 30 years to get our home and now he retired and where do we go? how do we start to build a life all over again?
>> reporter: you're in a state of shock . you're overwhelmed.
>> it's like a nightmare. one minute, it's like i'll wake up and this is all a dream. we wanted to spend the rest of our lives here, never wanted to leave here. i want to go home but there's no home. and that's killing me.
>> reporter: pretty emotional stuff. meantime tonight we've learned that the secretary of homeland security and the deputy administrator of fema will be arriving here tomorrow to take a close-up look at the recovery efforts here in staten island . now back to you, brian.
>> what a situation out there tonight, ann. we pointed out on "nightly news" for those not familiar with new york , two things, number one, if we were on top of this very building here in, we could almost see where you are. it's that close to gleaming midtown manhattan . number two, she's wearing a ladder 77 fdny hoodie. so many cops and firefighters live on staten island . it's a huge part of the beating heart of the population there.
>> reporter: that's exactly right. a lot of firefighters, police officers , detectives, teachers, this is a blue collar , working class , very catholic community. very much service oriented . and so for them to speak out and complain as they are about not getting service, it's kind of ironic, brian.
>> absolutely right. ann curry in a very sad place, ann, thanks.
>>> our coverage continues tonight. we're