(WASHINGTON) -- Recovery efforts after the widespread devastation and destruction caused by superstorm Sandy could be among the most expensive in United States history.
"We are now in the recovery mode, response and recovery," Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Wednesday while speaking at a Washington Post forum on cybersecurity issues. "We are moving large amounts of resources into the affected areas. It will be one of the most -- probably, if not the most extensive and expensive, one of the most in our nation's history."
Recovery from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 has been the costliest hurricane recovery in the U.S., at nearly $106 billion, according to the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 cost about $45.5 billion and Ike in 2008 cost over $27 billion.
More than six million people are still without power across 17 states and Sandy is now being blamed for more than 50 deaths in the U.S. Two million people have had power restored since Tuesday.
Napolitano said that President Obama had cancelled his campaign events over the past few days to focus on storm response efforts.
"Before it actually made landfall, we had -- and this is something we've developed over the last few years with FEMA -- pre-positioning, pre-positioning equipment, pre-positioning food and water, other things that are likely to be necessary -- pre-positioning personnel, so that as the storm clears and it is safe to go back in, we can move very, very quickly," Napolitano said.
She added that "patience" would be "the watchword of the day."
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