It has been more than a month since Superstorm Sandy tore a path of devastation through the Eastern Seaboard. For many however it feels like the day after as they struggle to rebuild and pick up the pieces left by the devastation. Wednesday, dozens of celebrities and musicians held a concert to raise money for sandy victims. Also, the Senate Appropriations Committee just released the text of a bill giving more than 60 billion dollars in aid for the states that were hit. This morning, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development joins “Starting Point” for an exclusive interview on officially being put in charge of the Superstorm Sandy response.
HUD Sec. Shaun Donovan on his new position as the head of the Superstorm Sandy federal recovery effort
Donovan who is also a native New Yorker and married to a New Jerseyan says, “we’ve reacted more quickly to this storm than any storm in history.” He adds, “in just a month we have 500,000 families that have already registered for aid, we have over a billion dollars that’s already gone to families to help them feed their kids, to find places to sleep while they’re out of their homes.”
On the topic of time, Donovan says, “this is along term process. The president asked me not to take over FEMA’s job – that’s the short term response.” He says his job is to create “a long-term recovery plan.” Donovan adds that every dollar spent during this recovery will result in saving four dollars on recovery from future natural disasters down the road.
Donovan says his priority is “focusing on the response.” He says in the case of a major national disaster like hurricane Katrina there were problems with short-term and long-term recovery. Donovan says, “that’s why in his first year in office the president asked me and secretary Napolitano to put together a framework” that would help the administration respond better to “big disasters that are going to have long-term implications.”