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More bodies found in storm's wake

Life in the US north-eastern states hit by Superstorm Sandy was slowly struggling back to normality for many as bodies of the more than 90 dead continued to be found.

More communities were recovering power, gas and other basic needs. The total US damage from the storm could run as high as 50 billion dollars (£31 billion).

The bodies of two young boys who had been torn from their mother's arms in the storm surge were recovered from a marsh in New York City's Staten Island, where at least 19 people were killed - near half of the city's death toll - and some rubbish-piled streets remained flooded. James Molinaro, the borough's president, said the American Red Cross "is nowhere to be found."

The island is the starting point of the New York City's Marathon, the world's largest, which the city has declared would start from Staten Island as usual on Sunday and finish in Central Park. The race attracts more than 40,000 participants, with about 20,000 of them from overseas and paying hundreds of dollars to join.

Staten Island resident George Rosado blasted the city for the decision. "It's repulsive," said Rosado, who spent two days scrubbing sludge from the tiled floors of his water-logged home. "They should be getting resources to the elderly people who can't fend for themselves. That's more important than a marathon right now."

The debate grew as residents and even undecided marathon runners debated whether resources like police officers and water should be used on the race with many people still suffering. The New York Post's front page blared "Abuse of Power!" about generators being used at the marathon tent near the finish line. The report said race organisers had paid for them.

Joan Wacks, 58, whose Staten Island waterfront condo was wrecked by the storm, called New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg "clueless without a paddle to the reality of what everyone else is dealing with."

Across the New York and New Jersey region at the heart of the natural disaster, the vast transport systems lurched to life, but tempers were short in long lines for petrol.

More subway and rail lines were expected to open, including Amtrak's New York to Boston route on the North-east Corridor. In West Virginia helicopters checked mountainous rural areas for people who may still be cut off by heavy snow.

More than 3.8 million homes and business in the East were still without power, down from a peak of 8.5 million. Officials said power would return over the weekend to central Manhattan, where community groups began an effort to go door to door to check on the elderly and others who may not have been able to leave their homes for a fourth day because of pitch-black hallways and many flights of stairs.

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