Staten Island, NY – Barack Obama’s visit to Staten Island on Thursday saw the president promise to return to the region until its recovery from superstorm Sandy is complete.
On Obama’s Staten Island tour, the president was seen meeting with local officials, hugging survivors of Hurricane Sandy, and taking a helicopter trip to view some of the worst damage left in the powerful storm’s wake. He also took time out for a private meeting with Damien and Glenda Moore, the couple who lost their two young children in the storm.
Standing in front of a boarded-up church on Cedar Grove Avenue in Staten Island, President Obama assured a crowd of residents and rescue staff that the recovery effort would not be forgotten:
“I came up here right after the storm, was on the Jersey side, and I promised to everybody that I was speaking on behalf of the country when I said we are going to be here until the rebuilding is complete, and I meant it. So I’m going to come back today, but I’m also going to be coming back in the future to make sure that we have followed through on that commitment.”
The president then assigned his housing secretary, Shaun Donovan, to head recovery efforts. Obama added:
“There’s still a lot of cleanup to do. People still need emergency help. They still need heat. They still need power; they still need shelter; kids are still trying to figure out where they’re going to school.”
Staten Island was among the worst-hit New York boroughs when superstorm Sandy passed over the region. The storm flooded lower Manhattan, was responsible for almost 200 deaths nationwide, and wreaked havoc on waterfront communities across several states when it hit land on October 29.
During his visit to New York, Obama took an aerial tour over the Queens neighborhoods of Breezy Point, where 110 houses had caught fire in the wake of the storm, and Far Rockaway, which was hit by a storm surge.
Obama’s Staten Island trip was conducted with senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both New York Democrats. As of Tuesday, it’s estimated around 18,000 customers in New York lacked power, with shoreline communities the most gravely affected.
Watch Obama’s Staten Island speech below in full:
Were you in the area for the Obama Staten Island visit?