President Barack Obama has canceled his upcoming campaign appearances to make a trip to New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the post-tropical superstorm that hit the East Coast on Monday and is responsible for at least 26 deaths in the U.S. and 66 in the Caribbean.
The commander-in-chief is scheduled to visit New Jersey with Governor Chris Christie today, according to ABC News. The state — particularly the Jersey Shore region — was one of the hardest-hit, with cities flooded and thousands left without power. Governor Christie described the damage as “beyond anything I thought I’d ever see.”
“Obviously this is something that is heartbreaking for the entire nation,” President Obama said at the Red Cross’ headquarters in Washington, D.C. “We certainly feel profoundly for all of the families whose lives have been upended, and are going to be going through some very tough times over the next several days, perhaps the next several weeks and months. The most important message that I have for them is that America is with you. We are standing behind you and we are going to do everything we can to help you get back on your feet.”
The President promised that his administration will do all that it can to provide “additional resources so that we can expedite getting power up and running in many of these communities.”
Along with New Jersey, President Obama made an emergency declaration for the state of New York. In New York City, thousands of residents were left in the dark after a ConEd explosion knocked out power in Lower Manhattan. And due to floodwaters that reached underground subway tunnels, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority estimates that it will take three to five days for the transit system to be back up and running.
Despite the wreckage, President Obama said the coordination between state, local and federal agencies has been outstanding.