WAYNE, N.J. -- President Barack Obama offered sympathy and encouragement to flood victims in New Jersey on Sunday and promised all victims of Hurricane Irene that federal help would be there "even after the cameras are gone and attention is somewhere else."
Obama also praised the work of responders, and expanded the disaster declaration he issued last week to make every county in the state eligible for public assistance, and individual assistance to offset uninsured homes and businesses.
Joined by the state's Republican governor, both Democratic senators, three members of Congress, and county and local officials, Obama visited flood-ravaged Wayne, got a briefing from the Federal Emergency Management Agency about the damages and greeted victims and volunteers.
"The main message that I have for all the residents ... is that the entire country is behind you," Obama said.
More than 43,000 households and business along the Eastern Seaboard that lost power during Irene remain without it a week after the storm.
Most were in Connecticut, which had about 17,000 customers without power Sunday evening.
More than 9 million customers lost power during the storm.