President Obama on Saturday acknowledged the nation has "a long way to go" in the aftermath following Superstorm Sandy, but pledged the administration will be putting in a "120 percent effort" to ensure the impacted regions get the assistance they need.
Mr. Obama, speaking after a briefing about ongoing recovery efforts at the FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., emphasized his commitment to restoring power, pumping flooded areas, removing debris, and attending to the needs of those impacted by the storm, which ravaged New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut this week. He noted that the military had been called in to help hasten that process.
"We still have a long way to go to make sure that the people of New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, and some of the surrounding areas get their basic needs taken care of and that we start moving back to normalcy," Mr. Obama said. "There's nothing more important than us getting this right. And we're going to spend as much time, effort and energy as necessary to make sure that all the people in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut know that the entire country is behind them in this difficult recovery effort."
He added: "We are going to put not just 100 percent, but 120 percent behind making sure that they get the resources they need to rebuild and recover."
The president lauded the hard work of first responders in the immediate aftermath of the storm, and noted that relief efforts would start to focus on efforts to give victims a resumed sense of normalcy.
"As we start seeing the weather get a little bit colder people cannot be without power for long periods of time, without heat for long periods of time," he said. "So what we are doing is starting to shift to identify where we can have temporary housing outside of shelters so people can get some sense of normalcy, they have a hot meal, they can have a capacity to take care of their families as their homes are being dealt with."
The president spent more than an hour in a briefing on the recovery efforts, during which he communicated via video conference with the governors and some mayors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, according to a White House pool report. He also
received an update from the National Weather Service about a possible storm that could be moving into the area.
"What I told the governors and the mayors is what I've been saying to my team since the start of this event, and that is we don't have any patience for bureaucracy, we don't have any patience for red tape, and we want to make sure that we are figuring out a way to get to yes, as opposed to no, when it comes to these problems," the president told reporters after the briefing.
According to the White House, several top administration officials were slated to visit communities throughout the affected region following the briefing.