(NEW YORK) — Residents along the East Coast are beginning to pick up the pieces after deadly superstorm Sandy devastated the most densely populated region in the country, with New Jersey experiencing “unthinkable” damage to its coastline as homes were swept from their foundations and amusement park rides were washed into the ocean.
President Obama will arrive in New Jersey Wednesday afternoon to survey the damage with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Obama declared parts of New Jersey, along with parts of New York, a major disaster area, which would allow federal funding for storm-related repairs.
More than eight million people are still without power across several states and Sandy is now being blamed for at least 50 deaths in the U.S.
Hundreds of thousands of people who had to evacuate their homes are now wondering what — if anything — was left. For those residents living on the New Jersey coastline, Christie described the damage as “unfathomable” and “unthinkable.”
“The boardwalk we walked on together this summer greeting residents, talking to those business owners, it’s gone,” Christie said at a Tuesday evening press conference after surveying the damage.
Images from around the storm-affected areas depicted scenes reminiscent of big-budget disaster movies. In Atlantic City, N.J., a gaping hole remained where a stretch of boardwalk once sat by the sea.
“It won’t be same. It will be different because many of the iconic things that made it what it was are now gone and washed into the ocean,” Christie said.
Christie said that he plans on speaking to Obama about getting Army Corps of Engineers into the state to begin rebuilding as soon as possible, especially the Jersey Shore.
“As a kid who was born and raised in this state and who spent a lot of time over my life, both my childhood and my adult life, at the Jersey Shore. We’ll rebuild it. No question in my mind we’ll rebuild it,” the governor said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire