(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is surveying the damage from Hurricane Sandy in New York Thursday on his second trip to check on the destruction left by the storm two weeks ago.
He will meet with first responders, FEMA staff, as well as victims of the storm's wrath that walloped the Northeast on Oct. 29 leaving over 100 people dead and billions of dollars of damage. The White House announced Thursday it has already approved more than $600 billion in direct assistance to individuals impacted by superstorm Sandy's wrath.
President Obama will begin his visit to New York with an aerial tour where he will view the damage to the most impacted parts of the state including Far Rockaway and the Breezy Point neighborhood, as well as Staten Island.
As the president flew over Queens, where the Far Rockaway and Breezy Point neighborhoods are located, the piles of sand on the street and in parking lots that had blown or washed ashore during the height of the storm could be seen below as well as fully destroyed homes on the coastline.
During the flight he was to be briefed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan.
The group will visit a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center and do a walking tour of an impacted neighborhood. New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, are traveling with the president aboard Air Force One on their way to New York.
The Breezy Point neighborhood, home to many of the city's firefighters and police officers, was devastated by the storm. Besides being inundated by flood waters, a wind whipped fire during the storm wiped out over 100 homes. There were over 40 deaths in New York City from Sandy, half of those on the borough of Staten Island where the president will also visit Thursday.
Days after the storm Obama took his first trip to see the damage, touring New Jersey's hard hit shoreline with Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican. Just six days before the election, Christie, one of Mitt Romney's most high profile surrogates, praised the president for his oversight of federal emergency efforts. Christie thanked Obama adding the two had a "great working relationship" and Obama "sprung into action immediately."
En route to visit the damage from Sandy's wrath, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president is "doing everything we can to assist state and local officials with the recovery effort" adding that the millions already approved will helps hundreds of thousands of those still dealing with the destruction.
Carney said it is an "absolute priority" to bring back power to those still struggling with a lack of electricity since the storm hit. He also said they are working with local officials "to bring fuel to the affected areas" and will "cut through the red tape" to bring as much relief to Sandy's victims as possible.
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