Top Obama Officials to Survey Hurricane Irene Damage

Posted August 30th, 2011 at 1:45 am (UTC-5)
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Residents on the east coast of the United States continue to deal with historic flooding and widespread power outages as a result of the deadly Hurricane Irene.

The storm, which made landfall in the southern state of North Carolina on Friday, has killed at least 40 people in the U.S. and Canada.

Utility companies say more than a week could pass before electricity is restored for many of the 5 million homes and businesses still without power as a result of the storm.

Hurricane Irene caused havoc well after it passed into Canada late Sunday. In the landlocked northern U.S. state of Vermont, residents are dealing with the worst flooding in a century.

U.S. President Barack Obama has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government agencies to do “everything in their power” to help those affected by the hurricane.

Top administration officials will travel to the worst-hit states on Tuesday to survey the damage.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to North Carolina and Virginia. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Craig Fugate, will visit Vermont.

As the storm headed north along the coast, it forced the evacuation of two and a half million people and damaged roads, bridges and buildings with high winds and heavy rains.

Several airports were closed with thousands of flights canceled. Ground transportation in several areas came to a halt.

In New York, the city's subway system was shut down, an unprecedented weather-related event that left millions of residents without their main mode of transportation. But the city itself, America's largest, was spared from any major damage.