Hurricane Sandy: President Obama vows 'big, fast' response

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US President Barack Obama has urged residents in areas likely to be hit by Hurricane Sandy to "take this very seriously" and follow the recommendations of state and local officials.

President Obama also vowed that authorities would "respond big and respond fast" once the storm made landfall and its impact had become clear

Hurricane Sandy is swirling towards the US, with winds of 75mph (120km/h) which are set to intensify as it merges with a wintry storm from the western US.

Sandy has already killed 60 people in the Caribbean and states of emergency have been declared in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC and a coastal county in North Carolina.

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