President Barack Obama arrived in New York last Thursday to survey the damage that Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy had unleashed on the Rockaways and Staten Island.
Landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Air Force One, Obama exited the plane with New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stood at the bottom of the stairs waiting to greet them. They then proceeded to Marine 1 and took a helicopter ride over Queens and then landed in Staten Island to cheers from those devastated by Sandy.
“I’m proud of you, New York,” said Obama while on the island. “You’re tough.”
Obama visited one of six local FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers that are currently open. The centers provide many resources for storm victims, including nonperishable food, hot meals, clothes and places to take hot showers. The president also visited tents where survivors had access to government resources.
The president has appointed Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to coordinate federal resources in the Sandy recovery effort. Obama believes that the former commissioner of New York City’s Housing Preservation and Development has the experience necessary to assist with the recovery.
“We thought it’d be good to have a New Yorker be the point person,” said Obama. “I have every confidence that Shaun’s going to be doing a great job.”
Thousands of residents in the tri-state area remain without power. Homes are so heavily damaged that utility workers have had to go door to door to repair equipment in some homes before they could reinstall electricity.
Cuomo has asked the federal government to cover 100 percent of the estimated $33 billion dollars that New York State is allegedly losing in recovery efforts and economic impact.
During the tour, Obama met with first responders, other local officials and families who lost everything or had their homes heavily damaged by the storm. With parts of Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Long Island still dealing with Sandy’s aftermath, the president said that America looks out for its own and the he, along with other officials, will continue to help in the recovery effort.
“We Americans are going to stand with each other in our hour of need,” Obama stated last Thursday. “People still need emergency help. They still need heat. They still need food. We’re going to make sure we stay here as long as people need help.”