NEW YORK (AP) -- President Barack Obama has had his first look at the devastation that Superstorm Sandy waged on New York City, taking a helicopter tour above sections of Queens and Staten Island that were ravaged by floods and fires.
The aerial tour included Breezy Point, a waterfront community in Queens where about 100 homes were burned in a massive fire.
Obama then met with people waiting in line at an emergency response center in Staten Island.
He hugged one woman, asking where she was staying and if her loved ones were safe. He also visited a tent where food and toiletries were being distributed, and thanked the workers and volunteers who came in from around the country.
One girl collecting supplies, who said her house is unlivable, said Obama should have "been here a long time ago."
A man standing in front of his wrecked Staten Island home agreed, saying he's grateful for the president's visit but wished it had happened sooner.
Obama traveled to New Jersey on October 31 to meet with Gov. Chris Christie and view recovery efforts in coastal communities. The White House said he didn't visit new York then because he did not want to interfere with recovery efforts.
085-a-12-(President Obama, at news conference)-"because of it"-President Obama says he's determined that Uncle Sam will do what it can to help residents recover. ((Longer version of cut in wrap)) (15 Nov 2012)
084-a-09-(President Obama, at news conference)-"a tough time"-President Obama says he's proud of federal efforts to come to the aid of Sandy's victims. (15 Nov 2012)
GRAPHICSBANK: Barack Obama headshot, as US President, responding to a reporter's question, White House East Room, Washington, DC, graphic element on gray (14 Nov 2012)
APPHOTO NYCK105: President Barack Obama visits workers at the FEMA recovery center on the grounds of New Dorp High School on Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (15 Nov 2012)
APPHOTO NYCK104: President Barack Obama is hugged by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo upon his arrival at JFK International Airport in New York, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, en route to visit areas devastated by Superstorm Sandy. From left are, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (15 Nov 2012)
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