Total Pageviews

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Obama Oversees Disaster Response

WASHINGTON â€" President Obama worked through much of Monday night to oversee the federal response to Hurricane Sandy, telephoning state and local leaders in New York and New Jersey and signing federal disaster declarations for both states, according to the White House.

After abruptly leaving the campaign trail on Monday to fly home to Washington, Mr. Obama spent the day in briefings in the White House Situation Room, and spoke with Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Mayor Cory Booker of Newark.

His last of three calls to Mr. Christie came at midnight, the governor said on Tuesday, hours after the storm made landfall on the Jersey coast. “The president's been all over this,” Mr. Christie said on “Morning Joe,” “He deserves great credit.”

Mr. Christie said he asked Mr. Obama to expedite the process of declaring New Jersey a major disaster area, which would provide additional federa l support, as well as direct financial assistance to people in hard-hit areas.

At 2 a.m., the governor said, he got a call from officials in Washington clearing the last bureaucratic hurdles to a declaration, and at 5:44 a.m., the White House issued a statement saying the president had signed the order, which will free up funds to aid in recovery in eight counties of New Jersey.

Fifteen minutes earlier, the White House announced that Mr. Obama signed an order declaring New York a major disaster area. Hours earlier, the president declared states of emergency in Virginia and West Virginia, which authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Authority and other federal agencies to aid in the response.