US President Barack Obama warned the US east coast was in for a “long 72 hours” as he led his government’s response to Hurricane Irene at a disaster command center in Washington.
Obama on Saturday chaired a meeting at the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) set up at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) headquarters in Washington, which is marshaling federal and local hurricane-relief efforts.
“This is going to be a tough slog getting through this thing,” Obama said during a video teleconference including senior federal officials and local government agencies in the east coast path of Irene.
“It’s going to be a long 72 hours. Obviously a lot of families are going to be affected … the biggest concern I’m having right now has to do with flooding and power,” Obama said during the videoconference.
It might be good optics but it’s the “before” and “after” that are so critical during hurricanes. “During,” not so much.
Before a hurricane hits you make preparations. After it hits you respond with rescue and repair operations. During a hurricane there isn’t much you can do except hunker down and wait it out.
I know I’m being cynical but I can’t help thinking that Obama’s primary concern right now is looking like a competent, “take charge” leader.