Today, President Obama visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. to participate in a briefing with several members of his cabinet, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Department of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan as well as National Security Advisor John Brennan, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, and many other senior government officials. Vice President Biden and USNORTHCOM Commander General Jacoby joined the briefing by video-teleconference.
The President directed the federal family during the briefing to continue to bring all federal resources to bear that are needed without delay as they lean forward to support states, tribes, and communities in their response. FEMA continues to coordinate the federal government’s assistance to support the states in response and recovery of Hurricane Sandy.
Today, the President, Governor Chris Christie and FEMA Administrator Fugate toured the storm damaged New Jersey coast and met with disaster survivors and first-responders, and were briefed by state and local officials on response efforts. Tomorrow, November 1st, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will travel to Connecticut and New York to meet with state and local officials and view ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Sandy.
Also, at the direction of the President, a power restoration working group has been established to cut through the red tape, increase federal, state, tribal, local and private sector coordination and restore power to people as quickly as possible. Led by FEMA Administrator Fugate, this working group includes representatives from private sector utilities and includes government representatives from the Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and representatives from local law enforcement, among others.