US President Barack Obama has vowed to stick with the residents in the neighbourhoods in New York worst hit by Hurricane Sandy “until the rebuilding is complete.”
The US president said he had made a commitment and promised to follow through on it. He said “I’ve come back today but I’ll also be coming back in the future to make sure we’re following through.”
Eighteen days ago Hurricane Sandy hit New York, causing severe damage to coastal neighbourhoods in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn. US President Obama visited some of those worst affected – those still without housing, heat and electricity. Obama took note of the damage caused to the areas and was on hand to meet with and hug some of those who are suffering the effects.
He said, “We’re reminded that we are bound together and we have to look out for each other.” Speaking from a block in Staten Island that was demolished, he said that when it comes to helping people recover from something like Hurricane Sandy “the petty differences melt away.”
He said, “Across the board what we have seen is a spirit of service and co-operation. For those first responders working here the police officers, the firefighters, the EMS folks, the sanitation workers, who sometimes don’t get credit, but have done heroic work. We are so grateful to you because you exemplify what America’s all about.”
Obama met with Glenda and Damien Moore in a private meeting during his visit. On the night of the Hurricane, Glenda had been trying to evacuate with her sons Connor, aged 4, and Brandon, aged 2. As the water rose and she scrambled for aid from residents, which she was denied, her young boys slipped from her grasp and died.
A Staten Island resident, Anthony Gatti, said he has been waiting everyday in the hope of speaking with a FEMA official. He said it would be “a great thing” if Obama could speed up the actions of the federal government. As the President visited the facility, hundreds of people gathered to see him, shouting, “We love you!”
Avoiding Katrina comparisons
US President Barack Obama promised residents of New York and New Jersey that they will get a coordinated federal, state and local effort to rebuild their homes. Thousands of FEMA workers are canvassing apartments and telling survivors about the help available to them while the agency coordinates a federal aid effort.