Obama to view hurricane damage on Sunday
WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama will view damage from Hurricane Irene on Sunday in Paterson, New Jersey, site of disastrous floods sparked by the storm last weekend, the White House said.
Thousands of people remain cut off by flooding in Vermont, New Jersey and upstate New York in the aftermath of Irene, which swept up the US coast last weekend and has now killed nearly 50 people.
Three days after the storm’s passage, some marooned families are still waiting for the national guard and firefighters to bring food and water to swamped towns.
In other places, rescuers have been ferrying thousands of people — including the elderly, children and babies — to safety in rubber motorboats.
In Paterson, northeastern New Jersey, and other nearby towns, the Passaic River rose to record levels and sent floodwater flowing through the streets.
The White House said that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate traveled to New York and New Jersey to check response and recovery efforts on Wednesday.
Other senior administration officials have made trips to Connecticut, North Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.
Officials have reported at least 43 deaths across 11 states, including eight in New York, seven in New Jersey and six in North Carolina, where Irene made landfall Saturday with winds upwards of 85 miles (140 kilometers) an hour.
The hurricane was already responsible for at least five deaths in the Caribbean before it struck the United States, and is being blamed for a 49th fatality in Canada, where the storm finally petered out on Tuesday.