Nation & World News

Obama Tours Mudslide Devastation, Pledges Solidarity With Families

By Scott Neuman on April 22nd, 2014

President Obama, aboard Marine One, took an aerial tour of devastation caused by a massive mudslide a month ago that left at least 41 people dead near the town of Oso, Wash.

The president, who made a stop in the state on his way to Japan for the start of a four-stop visit to Asia, witnessed toppled trees, mud and debris from the March 22 landslide.

“We’re going to be strong right alongside you,” Obama promised the people of Oso on Tuesday.

Later, at a community church in Oso, Obama promised to stick with the families whose lives were devastated when the rain-soaked hillside gave way.

“The whole country’s thinking about you, and we’re going to make sure that we’re there every step of the way as we go through the grieving, the mourning, the recovery,” he said.

Gov. Jay Inslee has asked Obama to declare a major disaster in the state, making it eligible for federal financial aid, including help covering the costs of temporary housing, home repairs and the loss of uninsured property, The Associated Press says.

NPR’s Martin Kaste, reporting from the disaster scene, says the site still resembles a muddy bombing range.

“The great mounds of dirt and broken trees are dwarfed by the 600-foot-tall failed hillside where they came from,” he reports on Morning Edition. “You see wheels sticking out of the mud, in random spots, detached from their cars. There’s a house that looks like it’s been through a trash compactor; National Guardsmen gingerly climb over it, probing the gaps with sticks.”

Kaste says the stretch of Highway 530 that was inundated by mud and debris will take months to clear, and maybe longer to rebuild, according to the state Department of Transportation.

“Alongside the usual yellow ribbons for the slide’s victims, you’re starting to see protest signs, calling for speedier action,” Kaste says.

As The New York Times points out:

“Anger festers about what might have been done better to warn residents, or protect the community from the slide, which killed 41 people and left two still missing. And fear haunts the voices of many people just miles from the impact zone, who now look up at the steep Cascade mountains with different eyes.”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

North Korea Is Not Pleased: Dance Video Features Kim Jong Un

Citing a threat to the leader’s dignity, North Korea reportedly asks China to block a video that inserts Kim Jong Un’s image into bizarre situations, all set to a bouncy dance track.


Hospital Settles Lawsuit By Thousands Of Women Over Exam Photos

The Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Health System will pay $190 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that includes more than 7,000 women.


Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin votes for a U.N. Security Council draft resolution demanding full access for investigators at the Malaysia Airlines crash site in eastern Ukraine.

Flight MH17: Black Boxes And Bodies Handed Over; U.N. Calls For Inquiry

In a late-night exchange, pro-Russian separatists have given what they say are Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17′s data recorders to Malaysian officials in eastern Ukraine.


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Friend Convicted For Impeding Bombing Inquiry

Azamat Tazhayakov has been found guilty on some obstruction of justice charges, and not guilty of others. He was accused of removing evidence from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room.


Sgt. Ryan Pitts waits for a flight at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Veteran Who Held Off Taliban Attack On His Own Receives Medal Of Honor

Army Sgt. Ryan Pitts is credited with holding off a brutal Taliban attack back in 2008. He was the only one left alive at an observation post in Afghanistan, and continued to attack despite injuries.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments