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

Supreme Court Clears Way For Same-Sex Marriages In Florida

The Supreme Court declined to extend a stay on a ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, who said in August that Florida’s 2008 ban is unconstitutional. The stay expires in January.


CEO Says Sony Pictures ‘Did Not Capitulate,’ Is Exploring Options

Melissa Block talks to Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton about the cyber attack against his company and the cancellation of the Christmas Day release of The Interview.


Actor James Franco (left), seen here with The Interview co-star Seth Rogen, was called "James Flacco" by President Obama Friday. Afterward, the jokes poured in.

Obama Says ‘James Flacco.’ The Internet Says, Thank You

It was an honest mistake. But when President Obama said “James Flacco” when referring to James Franco — on a Friday before the holidays, no less — the slip was eagerly received online.


Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont., in September. New EPA guidelines treat toxic coal ash from such plants much the same as common household garbage.

New EPA Standards Label Toxic Coal Ash Non-Hazardous

Environmental groups had sought to have coal ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants, regulated as hazardous waste.


"I didn't want to fire things up," St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch says of his silence since announcing the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

St. Louis Grand Jury Heard Witnesses Who Lied, Prosecutor Says

Weeks after he announced a grand jury’s decision not to indict a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in Michael Brown’s death, prosecutor Robert McCulloch explains some of his own decisions in the case.


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