As frantic search and rescue efforts continue, President Barack Obama said Tuesday he was “heartbroken” over images from Missouri of the deadliest U.S. tornado devastation in more than 60 years and said he would travel to the area by next Sunday.
White House staff said Obama spoke with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon Tuesday from London, where he is on a six-day European policy tour which ends Saturday.
At least 116 people were killed in Joplin, Missouri after the tornado flattened a six-mile swath of land on Sunday. The death toll may continue to rise. A 1953 tornado in Flint, Michigan also killed 116.
Once there, Obama will speak with local officials about the federal response and “hopefully to pray with folks and give them whatever assurance and comfort I can that the entire country is going to be behind them.”
“[A]ll of America cares deeply about them and that we are going to absolutely everything can to make sure that they recover,” Obama said.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Monday federal help may cover uninsured losses or costs for some people for temporary housing, home repair and replacement of household items.
Meanwhile, Nixon said priorities were on search and rescue, providing medical aid, and keeping communities stay safe. Nixon said the federal government would help families “with their recovery in the tough days ahead.”