President Bush tried to be the consoler-in-chief in Kansas on May 8, 2007.
The president visited the tornado-ravaged remains of Greensburg, the town almost obliterated by a twister last week. He got a first hand look at what was once a small farming community from the air and from the ground - a town of 1600 people leveled by that massive tornado last Friday.
Walking through the scattered debris, the president spent some time talking to rescue and relief workers. Mr. Bush described this community’s resilience.
“I am struck by the strength of character of the people who live here in the plains - people who refuse to have their spirit affected by this storm,” Bush said.
Gheda Rose is one of the fortunate ones. She remained in her basement throughout the storm with her husband.
As the clean up process continues, residents are still receiving support and help from the National Guard. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said its priority for the next 24 hours is to continue search and rescue efforts and remove debris. It’s a Herculean task.
The governor has criticized FEMA’s lack of equipment and resources, but said for now they have the situation under control. Greensburg’s mayor said they’re trying to get running water and electricity up and running.
One of the officials here said equipment, trailers and personnel are arriving here all the time. They’re making progress quicker than expected.
Meanwhile in Missouri, residents are dealing with another problem: flooding. Water has topped at least 20 levees and flooded some areas along the Missouri River.
Missouri’s governor has declared a State of Emergency and called in the National Guard.
The National Weather Service said this past weekend parts of Missouri, Iowa and Kansas received as much as eight inches of rain in a 24-hour period.
A number of towns had to be evacuated.