President Obama Meets Sandy Survivors in Staten Island

President Obama Hugs Glenda Moore, Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 15, 2012

President Barack Obama meets privately with Damien and Glenda Moore at a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center tent in Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 15, 2012. The Moore’s two small children, Brandon and Connor, died after being swept away during Hurricane Sandy.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama today promised residents of Staten Island his support as they begin the long process of rebuilding their devastated community just two weeks after Hurricane Sandy tore its path of destruction through the New York City borough.

Speaking to local residents, first responders and elected officials, the President promised that he would return to the region again and again, until the rebuilding is complete. He also said that he had asked Shaun Donovan, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to continue to work closely with governors, mayors and local officials of New Jersey and New York in identifying redevelopment plans for affected communities. Secretary Donovan is a former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing.

The President began his visit with a helicopter tour over some of the areas that were hardest hit by the wrath of the storm, including Breezy Point, a Queens neighborhood where more than 100 houses burned to the ground. As he addressed the crowd gathered in a disaster recovery center, President Obama praised the first responders, volunteers and sanitation workers who are working tirelessly to help residents get back on their feet, saying they exemplify what America is all about:

During difficult times like this, we’re reminded that we’re bound together and we have to look out for each other. And a lot of the things that seem important, the petty differences melt away, and we focus on what binds us together and that we as Americans are going to stand with each other in their hour of need.

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