Obama Announces Emergency for New York Ahead of Hurricane

Washington, Aug 27 (IANS): US President Barack Obama declared Friday a state of emergency for New York state as Hurricane Irene is approaching the US East Coast, Xinhua reported.

Obama cut short his vacation in Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts Friday to return to Washington a day ahead of schedule.

Irene, estimated to threaten over 65 million residents living along the East Coast, is expected to hit the New York City and Long Island Sunday. It is threatening to wreak massive havoc on its path.

Authorities have warned that the "historic" hurricane could bring massive flooding, power outages and property damages on its path.

The state of emergency declaration mandates the coordination of disaster relief efforts among federal agencies, including the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will provide federal emergency aid to the New York state.

The federal agencies will specifically help the counties of Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Nassau and Suffolk to carry out future relief efforts in the wake of the hurricane.

Earlier Friday, the New York City issued a hurricane warning, the first since 1985, ordering about 300,000 residents along the coastal area to evacuate ahead of Irene's arrival.

As of Friday afternoon, Irene was causing heavy rain, high wind and rough seas along the coast of North Carolina.

Obama convened a conference call Friday morning and was briefed by Napolitano, Fugate, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and other senior administration officials about the preparations for Hurricane Irene.


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Title: Obama Announces Emergency for New York Ahead of Hurricane

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