Obama: Calls Recovery a Federal, State and Local Effort

The president toured New Jersey's Hurricane Sandy damage with Gov. Chris Christie.
3:00 | 10/31/12

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Transcript for Obama: Calls Recovery a Federal, State and Local Effort
Thank -- everybody. Let me just make sure that I acknowledge folks -- -- here because very very played an important role in this. First of all your. Congressional delegation senator Bob Menendez. Senator frank -- -- congressman frank. Well beyond norm. Atlantic county executive Dennis Levinson and bring acting mayor -- -- Obviously this is a federal. State and local -- and the first thing -- -- just thank everybody's who's been involved. -- the entire rescue recovery process. At the top of my list. I have to say that governor Chris -- throughout this process has been responsive. He's been aggressive in making sure that the state got out in front of this incredible storm. And I think people of New Jersey recognize. That is poured its heart soul and making sure there. People New Jersey bounce back. It's even stronger than before the -- want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership. And partnership I want to thank the congressional delegation because. Part of the reason Morgan real -- respond quickly. To all of us -- it's may help make sure that FEMA financing wasn't place. And were very appreciative. Of those efforts. And you know one thing -- few days sometimes. You know people. Just think FEMA -- don't think the people behind but -- -- breeze. This stuff making sure that were providing help people so desperately need these situations. I want to -- -- -- first responders. Who have been involved in this process of linesmen firefighters. False -- in here. Shoveling out people who were supposed to get the hell out -- You know you you help to save a lot of lives lot of property. And no one thinks that when you you learn in these tragedies. Is. The first responders keep in mind their homes usually are under water to people or their families been affected. In some some -- and yet -- make those personal sacrifices to help other people so we really appreciate them. I'm just gonna make a couple of comments number one. And and most important. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones it's true because of some good preparation. The loss of life. Was -- Lower than it might have been. But for those individual families. Obviously. The other world has been torn apart and we need to make sure it. Everybody who's lost a loved one knows there -- thoughts and prayers speak for the whole country there. For those like. People like to -- a chance to meet on this block and -- New Jersey. Throughout the region whose lives have been abandoned. My second messages we are here for you. And we will not forget we won't follow up to make sure that you get all the help that you need until you -- At this point our main focus is on the State's New Jersey. Which got hit harder than anybody. -- New York particularly. Lower Manhattan and Long Island. We are very concerned about. Some. Situations in Connecticut as well. And we're still monitoring West Virginia -- there are heavy snows in some inaccessible areas but. For the most part those four states are really bearing the brunt. This incredible storm what we've been able to do is to pre position. And stage. Commodities water. Power generators. Ambulances in some cases food. Medical. Supplies. Emergency supplies. And we have over 2000. A field personnel that are on the ground right now. Their job. Now -- -- moving out of the search and rescue phase is to make sure that they are going out in and talking to. Individual communities so that people know exactly how they can get the help they need. We expedite it. Our emergency. Declarations for the state and New Jersey and local companies that have been affected. What that means -- is that people can immediately start registering for emergency assistance. And want things I want. Emphasized the people of New Jersey and throughout the region. Now that you know your safe your family safe but -- trying to figure out but we're gonna stay for the next couple of days etc. It's very important that you know that there is help available to you right now. For example to find rental housing or to be able to pay for some groceries. Over the communities and it was. A young woman revenue more or August probably eight month old still -- diapers formula of run out. Those kinds of basic supplies and help that we can provide. If you call 80621. FEMA. 80621. FEMA. Or disaster assistance dot gov if you've got. Access to the Internet he noted disaster assistance dot -- what that -- do is to register right now. So that you can immediately. Start receiving help you know we want to make sure that you get everything that you need just a couple of final points. Obviously our biggest priority right now is getting power turned back wrong. We're very pleased that new -- got power yesterday -- Jersey City is getting power we believe today. But there are still big chunks of the community including. This -- right here that don't have power and so if it's hard enough cleaning up. Debris and deal worth. Boats that have been up Brandon. And wrote that are blocked. When people don't have power obviously they're disabled and all sorts -- and it's hard to get back to normal. So. We yesterday I had a chance to speak to. BC EOs. The utilities from all across the country. A lot of states that were spared. That were were not hard hit or some states as far away as California. They have pledged to start getting equipment crews etc. Here -- -- New Jersey. And New York. And Connecticut as quickly as possible. And -- I think -- -- do just to give you a sense of how there's an all hands back approach were able to get. C seventeens C 130s military transport planes potentially to move. Assets personnel. To speed up the process of getting power up and running as soon as possible our first priority is. Water filtration plants. And some other critical infrastructure in the state for that we've got emergency generators. We've got a navy ship that. I have some helicopters that can help to move assets. -- around the state as well and so we're -- it. Be working -- governor Christie's office and local officials to identify what are those critical infrastructure -- we get. What's needed as quickly as possible. Just a couple of things we're concerned about one is as power starts coming back -- we want to make sure that people can also get to work. Obviously a lot of folks in Jersey. Who work. In New York in the city. And in other places where transportation may be hobbled. -- things I mentioned the governor is the possibility of us using. Federal assets military assets as well as. -- take an inventory of assets from around the country they can be brought in so that we can help people get to their work. And governor. Christie also mentioned the importance of schools. The sooner we get our kids back in the school. -- -- -- back in a routine. That obviously helps the families and helps kids as well so were gonna have a lot of work to do. I don't want anybody feel. That somehow this is all going get cleaned up overnight. We want to make sure the people have realistic expectations. About what I can promise you is that the federal government. Will be working as closely as possible with the state and local officials. And we will not quit until this has done. And the directive that I've given my service yesterday but I will repeat. And I think pregnant. Others who worked with me right now no -- -- -- -- not gonna tolerate red tape -- not tolerate bureaucracy. And you know -- instituted a fifteen minute rule essentially on my team. You -- turner -- phone calls in fifty humans whether it's mayors the governors county officials if they need something. We figure out way to say yes. You know as I was just gathered around had a chance to. Talked to some young people here who. Have been volunteering brought up and down the block cleaning up debris. And what we're -- the communities there was restaurant owner who for the last eighteen hours have been cooking meals. You know just as his contribution to the recovery process. And some folks were saying before it was better than they got all. You know you had a fifteen year old. Young man whose mother was disabled and he was making sure. That she was okay and taking on -- -- responsibilities for himself and but also for his mom and you know when you when you see. Folks like that respond with strength and resilience. When you see neighbors helping neighbors. -- reminded about what America's all about. We go through tough times but we bounced back and the reason we bounce back here's because we look out for one another and we don't leave anybody behind. And so my commitment the people on this block. The people of this community. And the people of this state is that that -- -- will carry over all the way through until our work is done art. Thank you very much about it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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