President Obama: Feds Stand By Hurricane-Ravaged Communities
President Obama and Gov. Christie toured areas impacted by Sandy on Wednesday.
The federal government stands by New Jersey as it suffers in the wake of Tropical Storm Sandy, President Obama said Wednesday afternoon while visiting Brigantine alongside Governor Christie.
Obama confirmed FEMA aid has already been approved for Atlantic County, and that restoration efforts will continue as long as needed.
"We will not forget," Obama said. "We will follow up to make sure you get the help you need.
There are 2,000 personnel from FEMA on the ground, Obama said.
"They are talking to communities so people know how they can get the help they need," Obama said. "The important thing to know is that people can immediately start registering for emergency assistance. Now that you're safe, it's very important you know there's help available to you now."
Residents can call 1-800-621-FEMA or visit http://disasterassistance.gov to register right now to immediately receive help.
"Our biggest priority is getting power back on," Obama said. "There are still big chunks of the state that don't have power. When people don't have power, they're disabled in all sorts of ways."
Obama said states that haven't been impacted by Sandy, and states as far west as California, have already pledged help for the state.
This was a concern among county and local officials prior to the storm. They were worried that because of the size of the storm and the number of areas that were to be impacted, each municipality and county would be on its own.
Obama said the focus currently is on New Jersey, New York, and parts of Connecticut, and that the government is monitoring snow in West Virginia.
"Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones. Because of good preparation, loss of life kept lower than it might have been."
He said federal and military assets may be used to help transport people once they get back to work. He made no mention of the tainted water in Atlantic City, or the possibility of reopening Brigantine, Longport and Margate, per a request from Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson.
"This is not going to get cleaned up overnight," Obama said. "We can promise the federal government will work as closely as possible with state and federal officials to get this done. I will not tolerate red-tape or bureaucracy in this matter."
He praised Christie's efforts.
"This is a federal, state and local effort," Obama said. "Gov. Christie has been responsive, aggressive in making sure the state got out in front of the storm, and I think people of New Jersey recognize he's put his heart and soul (into the recovery)."
"He has worked incredibly closely with me since even before the storm hit," Christie said. "I cannot thank the president enough for his concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state."
They were joined by Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, and Levinson on Wednesday.
"We have suffered losses," Christie said. "All that stuff can be replaced. You look to your right and left, at your son and daughter and that's the stuff you can't replace."