The death toll mounted Thursday as survivors struggled to regain a semblance of the normalcy that Superstorm Sandy swept away this week when it struck the Northeast.
In some cases, tempers grew short.
"We're gonna die down here!" wailed Donna Solli to Sen. Chuck Schumer as he toured her waterlogged neighborhood in New York's Staten Island with a group of reporters. "When is the government coming?"
Solli said residents needed gas, food and clothes. "We're gonna freeze," she said on a day when the 50-degree temperature was predicted to drop to the low 40s. "We've got 90-year-old people!"
The Democratic senator from New York said he understood and hugged her.
Solli said her basement was flooded and her refrigerator was upside down. "I stayed here because I have an elderly dog," she told a reporter. "We nearly drowned."
Solli added that she had had little to eat. "One slice of pizza in 48 hours."
As he surveyed the damage in the neighborhood, the politician told a reporter, "This is the worst thing I've ever seen, and it's killing me what these people have to go through. We'll get whatever federal help we can, that's for sure."
Afterward, a senior administration official told CNN that a convoy of 10 Red Cross trucks filled with food, water and medicine arrived Thursday evening on Staten Island.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino were to travel Friday to Staten Island to meet with state and local officials and view the response and recovery efforts, the White House said.
Some people were not complaining.
About 90 miles north of Staten Island, the mayor of Danbury, Connecticut, Mark D. Boughton, was visiting a special-needs shelter on Wednesday night when he met a 106-year-old woman who had cancer and was in hospice.
"She's happy to be alive," he tweeted. "Every day is a gift."
Contacted by telephone, Boughton said the cheerfulness of the lifelong resident of Danbury had inspired him. "The essence of it was, look, you gotta make each day count," he said. "You don't know when your time comes."
In Sandy's wake, at least 157 people died, at least 88 of them in the United States, two in Canada and 67 in the Caribbean.
Among them were two children whose bodies were found Thursday. The boys, ages 2 and 4, had been riding with their mother, Glenda Moore, on Staten Island when the storm surge swamped their SUV, authorities said.
Police said Moore gave them this account: When her Ford Explorer was blown into a hole, she got out, took out her children and carried them to a nearby tree. There, she held on to the boys, Brandon and Connor, as rain poured and hurricane-strength winds gusted. After hours, she walked with her children to a nearby house to seek help. A man opened the door but refused to let them in. Desperate, she went to his back porch and threw a flower pot at the window in an attempt to get inside. But she was not able to do so. Meanwhile, her children were swept away.
Their bodies were found nearby on Thursday.
Relatives said Moore was too distraught to speak with CNN.
The owner of the house, who asked that he not be identified, disputed Moore's account, saying he saw only a man. "He didn't come to the door, he came on the stairs at the back of the house, and he was standing at the bottom of the stairs," said the man. "He took a concrete flower pot and threw it through the door."
The man at the door, he said, didn't ask to enter the house, but instead asked the owner of the house to leave it in order to help.
"What could I do to help him?" he asked. "I'm wearing the same clothes ... the same shorts and flip-flops I had that night. And I was going to come out?"
The man told CNN he sat up for the rest of the night, with his back against the door in the kitchen. He said the deaths were a tragedy, but that the woman was at fault. "She shouldn't have been out," he continued. "She shouldn't have been out on the road."
There was nothing he could have done, he added. "I'm not a rescue worker ... If I would have been outside, I would have been dead."
Sandy claimed at least 37 lives in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters Thursday.