Hurricane Sandy response: Officials get good marks, so far
Amid the damage caused by hurricane Sandy, local, state, and federal officials are at this early stage largely united in the opinion that everyone did everything they could.
Though it is too early to make definitive assessments, rescue and relief efforts along the storm-hit East Coast have won some early public praise.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Sandy: Chronicle of an unrelenting storm
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Local and state officials were lauding federal officials for their preparations, and federal officials were praising local crews for their quick action in providing shelter in flood-risk zones, guiding others to safety, and mounting door-to-door rescues in one New Jersey community ravaged by surprise river overflow.
On Tuesday, emergency personnel including National Guard forces continued to respond to challenges from North Carolina northward, and the efforts promise to remain intense for days, as efforts to restore electric power and recover from floods continue.
Despite the enormous work ahead – and the damage left behind – Sandy's aftermath has not yet brought significant finger-pointing, though.
Mr. Christie, engaged in his own mobilization efforts at the state level, recounted late-night conversations with President Obama and with FEMA personnel, preparing the way for federal disaster relief.
"The president has been outstanding in this," said Christie, a Republican governor who has been vocal in his support for Mitt Romney in the presidential race.
Others agree with the governor. "I think the federal response was positioned well," retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré said in an interview on CNN Tuesday. He added that, as governors have called up more uniformed personnel, "I think the National Guard is doing a great job."
Lieutenant General Honoré, who helped coordinate relief efforts in New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said that in the first few hours of a disaster state and local responders typically play the most vital role in keeping people safe.
Obama echoed that sentiment Tuesday, praising local officials and governors including Christie and Andrew Cuomo of New York, saying their their preparation work and efforts since the storm struck have saved lives.
Verbal jabs exchanged between Christie and Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford are the exception, not the rule, in Sandy's wake. Christie fretted publicly that some comments by Mayor Langford had prompted some residents to enter a shelter rather than evacuate. The shelter later became the scene of flood-rescue efforts Monday by the National Guard.
Langford on Tuesday called Christie's comments "dead wrong," New Jersey's Star-Ledger reported. The mayor said he was urging evacuation, and that his plans to move people inland from the shelter were thwarted by the storm's fast-moving surge.