Washington: US President Barack Obama has said that the Hurricane Irene recovery effort could go on for days or weeks, but hailed the disaster response operation as an "exemplary" display of good government.
The President, who took pains to show Americans he was in charge of the emergency effort, amid memories of the botched response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, also remembered the 14 people killed in the storm.
"I want people to understand that this is not over. Response and recovery efforts will be an ongoing operation," Obama said in a short statement in the White House Rose Garden.
"I do want to underscore that the impacts of this storm will be felt for some time. And the recovery effort will last for weeks or longer. Power may be out for days in some areas,"
Obama said on Sunday.
The President returned early from his vacation on Friday to deal with the Hurricane Irene response and led top homeland security officials in a massive federal and local operation on Sunday.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who've lost loved ones. And those whose lives have been affected by the storm," Obama said.
"You need to know that America will be with you in your hour of need. While the storm has weakened as it moves north, it remains a dangerous storm that continues to produce heavy rains."
Obama, flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate, said he remained concerned by significant flooding and widespread power outages.