Hurricane Sandy brought devastation down on all of New York City's boroughs, but the scale of the damage on Staten Island has some experts wondering if its communities will ever be the same.
"The stories are harrowing and it's hard not to get emotional," Claire Regan of the Staten Island Advance told HuffPost Live on Thursday. "Nothing could ever compare to [9/11], but there are a lot of the same emotions."
As of press time, 36 fatalities due to Sandy have been reported in New York City. At least 14 of those deaths occurred on Staten Island, in the borough's evacuation zones, according to the Staten Island Advance.
The National Guard is working with the FDNY and the NYPD on search and rescue efforts on Staten Island, Regan said, but many low-lying coastal areas remain inaccessible because of flood water. This has led to some dramatic rescues, as well as heart-wrenching tragedies.
Thursday morning, police found the bodies of two Staten Island boys, ages 2 and 4, who were swept out of their mother’s arms when waves of water crashed into their SUV, the New York Daily News reports.
Earlier this week, the NYPD released video of four helicopter rescues made on Staten Island Tuesday, in which five adults and one child were airlifted to safety from the roofs of their submerged homes amid rising water.
On Monday night, an off-duty NYPD officer drowned after rescuing seven family members from his Staten Island home.
Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro reportedly broke down during a news conference Thursday when discussing the devastation. He said hundred of families were homeless and displaced and the death toll on the island was expected to rise.
As of Thursday morning, 83,000 customers on Staten Island remained without power, according to the Staten Island Advance.
Although food, water and generators are now being rushed to Staten Island, the New York Daily News reports, local politicians have taken issue with the city's plan to divert police in order to stage the New York City Marathon.
"The notion of diverting even one police officer, one first responder, one asset away from this carnage is beyond irrational,” Staten Island Councilman James Oddo told the Daily News.