Obama Mudslide: President to Visit Victims in Washington State

Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 11:14 AM

By Michael Mullins

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President Barack Obama will visit mudslide victims in Washington state later this month, according to the White House, several weeks after the natural disaster claimed the lives of at least 33 people with another 12 still missing.

"The White House told me this morning that President Obama will visit the SR 530 slide site April 22," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday, The Washington Post reported. "This will give the president the opportunity to see firsthand the devastation wrought by the slide as well as the incredible community spirit flourishing in Oso, Arlington, and Darrington."

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"The White House said the president will meet with families, first-responders, and recovery workers," Inslee added.

On March 22, an enormous mudslide buried the tiny town of Oso, about 55 miles northeast of Seattle. Roads and neighborhoods in the rural residential area along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River were virtually decimated.

On Saturday, while speaking at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, Obama took a moment to offer his condolences to those who lost loved ones in the Washington mudslide, calling it a "tragedy."

"We hope for the best, but we recognize this is a tough situation," he said.

The president added that upon hearing about the mudslide, he immediately signed an emergency declaration "to make sure that [Gov. Inslee] has all the resources he needs" to carry out the search and rescue effort as well as the subsequent recovery.

As of Monday, more than 220 locals registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting individual assistance, according to FEMA spokesman David Mace. FEMA is presently operating three disaster recovery centers in the area for victims.

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On Tuesday, the list of those killed in the mudslide grew to 33. The latest victims are 30-year-old Naval chief petty officer Billy L. Spillers, who was killed along with his daughter Kaylee, 5, and stepson Jovon Mangual, 13.

Spillers' 2-year-old daughter Brooke is still missing, Fox News reported. His 4-year-old son survived the natural disaster after being rescued by a helicopter at the scene.

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