News / USA

Obama Promises Storm Victims Support 'For the Long Haul'

President Barack Obama, left, embraces Donna Vanzant, right, during a tour of a neighborhood effected by superstorm Sandy, Oct. 31, 2012 in Brigantine, N.J.
President Barack Obama, left, embraces Donna Vanzant, right, during a tour of a neighborhood effected by superstorm Sandy, Oct. 31, 2012 in Brigantine, N.J.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama toured the storm-battered New Jersey coast Wednesday, telling devastated residents the federal government will support them "for the long haul."

Accompanied by state Governor Chris Christie, Mr. Obama sought to reassure millions of residents in New Jersey and the rest of the greater New York metropolitan area.  He said "our hearts go out to the families that have lost loved ones," and promised that "we will follow up to get all the help you need to rebuild."

The president also said utility companies from as far away as California have pledged help.  He said he has ordered military transport planes to move equipment and crews to the area from other regions of the country as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, New York's Bellevue Hospital Center, operating on unstable emergency power, evacuated several hundred patients Wednesday.  Hours earlier, New York University's Langone Medical Center also began evacuations when backup generators at that facility failed as well.

Nearby, National Guard troops moved on Wednesday to rescue thousands of residents of Hoboken, New Jersey still trapped by toxic floodwaters in the city on the Hudson river.

  • Dave Skudin empties his home of household items that were destroyed by flooding from Superstorm Sandy on Nov 1, 2012, in Long Beach, N.Y.
  • Tricia Burke walks over debris which washed up onto her property in the wake of superstorm Sandy, Nov. 1, 2012, in Brick, N.J.
  • As temperatures begin to drop, people wait in line to fill containers with gas at a Shell gasoline filling station Nov. 1, 2012, in Keyport, N.J.
  • Tunisia Wragg, left, a staff member with New York Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, checks a cell phone at a charging station in Chinatown, NY, Nov 1, 2012.
  • Morning commuters walk and bicycle across New York's Brooklyn Bridge, Oct. 31, 2012.
  • Water gushes from a hose as it is pumped out of a basement in New York's financial district, Oct. 31, 2012.
  • People line up at a coffee truck in New York's financial district, Oct. 31, 2012 ahead of the first opening for Wall Street this week following a two-day shutdown due to superstorm Sandy.
  • Members of the National Guard stand ready with large trucks used to pluck people from high water in Hoboken, N.J. , Oct. 31, 2012 in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
  • People in New York's Tribeca neighborhood, without power because of superstorm Sandy, wait for a chance to charge their mobile phones on an available generator setup on a sidewalk, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Kathy and Jeffrey Frey pose for a photograph outside their home on 7th Street which is flooded from the effects of Hurricane Sandy on Oct., 30, 2012, in Bayville, N.Y.
  • A canoe sits in the lobby of an apartment building in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York, October 30, 2012.
  • This photo provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority shows the South Ferry subway station after it was flooded by seawater during superstorm Sandy on Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Pedestrians walk past the boardwalk and cars displaced by superstorm Sandy, near Rockaway Beach in the New York City borough of Queens, Oct. 30, 2012, in New York.
  • Residents look over the remains of burned homes in the Rockaways section of New York, October 30, 2012.
  • A beachfront house is damaged in the aftermath of yesterday's surge from superstorm Sandy, Oct. 30, 2012, in Coney Island's Sea Gate community in New York.
  • Peter Andrews removes belongings from his father's beachfront home, destroyed in the aftermath of a storm surge from superstorm Sandy, Oct. 30, 2012, in Coney Island's Sea Gate community in New York.
  • Taxis are submerged in floodwaters in the wake of superstorm Sandy on Oct. 30, 2012, in Weehawken, N.J.
  • People stand next to a house collapsed from superstorm Sandy in East Haven, Conn. on Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Christopher Hannafin, of South Kingstown, R.I., enters a friend's cottage through a window to salvage belongings from the structure destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, on Roy Carpenter's Beach, in the village of Matunuck, in South Kingstown, Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Zoe Jurusik, 20, paddleboards down a flooded city street in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Bethany Beach, Delaware, October 30, 2012.
  • This photo provided by Metropolitan Transportation Authority shows people boarding a bus, as partial bus service was restored on Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Jeff Willard lights a candle in his living room as his girlfriend, Diana Conte, back left, and her son, Ricky, wait for electricity to return in Ventnor City, N.J., Oct. 30, 2012.
  • People stop along the Brooklyn waterfront to look at the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline, Oct. 30, 2012 in New York.

With the presidential election less than a week away, Republican challenger Mitt Romney - campaigning in Florida - asked supporters do what they can to help the relief efforts.

"People ...all over America [are] gathering their support in any way they can to help the people who have been subjected to this tragedy.  And so, please, if you have an extra dollar or two send them along and keep the people who have been in harm's way... in your thoughts and prayers .  We come together at times like this," said Romney.

Tens of millions of people in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut on Wednesday viewed scenes of mass devastation never before seen in the heavily populated region.  New Jersey firefighters and other rescue personnel remained hampered by tons of floating debris as they tried to battle a series of natural gas fires in the barrier island town of Mantoloking, where several homes burned to the ground two days ago.

Not far away, in New York City, people did their best to get back to work.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street to ring the opening bell.  It is the first time traders have returned to work since Hurricane Sandy walloped the region, flooding parts of the city's famed subway system.

Officials say it will likely be several more days before the subways are operating again.  But two of New York's three airports are beginning limited service, while the third - LaGuardia Airport - remains closed because of flood damage.

Airports, railroads, and local public transit in other cities along the Eastern Seaboard are also resuming services.

The storm's impact has even caught the attention of the Vatican, where Pope Benedict XVI offered prayers and condolences to victims of the disaster.

Sandy has killed at least 45 people in North America, and another 65 people in the Caribbean last week before targeting the United States.

Related video by Daniela Schrier:

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Cora Jackson from: San Antonio
November 06, 2012 12:39 AM
Watching this storm unfold I was hopeing and praying it would not take such a toll on us. We as Americans share the same grief and pain. I do not have much but I will be wiling to help someone that is in need of shelter and food, yes my doors are open to you. I believe if we would all pitch in and donate not just money but a piece to our life with some one who has lost everything! May God Bless you all, you will continue to be in my prayers. Love C Jackson

by: 9dharma
October 31, 2012 4:17 PM
Gods bless them all
In Response

by: Richard ouko from: Nairobi
November 01, 2012 10:12 AM
Following closely at the storms that have ravaged parts of America, One thing struck me was despite the loss most people seem to stand with such resolve, What is it that make America to react this way in times of the midnight?

Richard from Nairobi
In Response

by: Richard ouko from: Nairobi
November 01, 2012 10:08 AM
I have looked keenly at the Obama hug in times of trouble, I can't help it but only say that it is a heart of compassion propelled by Love. God bless you all America.

Richard from Nairobi

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs