Category: Society / November 15, 2012 5:04 PM EST
U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday (November 15) pledged ongoing federal support for areas still digging out of the damage caused by superstorm Sandy two weeks ago, and said that the area needed a long-term recovery plan.
"There's a lot of short-term, immediate stuff that has to be dealt with. And we are going to make sure that we stay here as long as people need that immediate help," he told a collection of elected officials, volunteers and survivors after surveying parts of New York that were hit hard by the storm.
"But what we've also already heard is that there is going to be some long-term building that's required," he added.
Obama said he was designating the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan, as the federal "point person" in the long-term rebuilding effort, and that his administration would continue working with the governors and congressional delegations of New York and New Jersey.
The death toll from the historic storm that pounded the U.S. East Coast late last month, increased to at least 128 on Thursday in the United States and Canada.
The storm crashed ashore in the United States on Oct. 29 after killing at least 69 people in the Caribbean, including at least 54 in Haiti and 11 in Cuba.