Tags: America's Forum | mudslide | washington state | recovery efforts

Seattle Reporter: Recovery Operation Underway in Wash. Mudslide

By    |   Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 06:45 PM

The search in Washington State after the deadly weekend mudslide has become more of a recovery than a rescue operation, says Seattle radio reporter Jon Repp of KOMO News radio.

"What we are seeing today is we're seeing a lot more help that is arriving. You have some volunteers who were turned away…and they are actually loggers, they know the area, they have loved ones who are likely buried there and they have actually been incorporated into that search effort under the direction of the fire department," he told Newsmax TV's John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" Wednesday.

"You have the National Guard on the west side of this slide, you have state resources on the east side, and they've set up a grid system where they are methodically going through this area, they are going to be making multiple passes on all of these areas, trying to make sure that they recover as many bodies as they can. They really haven't found any survivors and the destructive force of this is so powerful, there really isn't much hope left at this point," he said.

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The weather conditions continue to be a concern, Repp noted.

"They are trying to open up this area because there is water ponding on the east side of the slide area so they're trying to get that to go down. The biggest difficulty with the weather is just it's a mess. You still have this soil that is water saturated and it's not going to help all that much," he said.

"There is the anticipation of a federal disaster declaration  … that would free up assistance for home owners, for businesses and that's something that we will probably see here very soon, but in the meantime you have local companies that are donating food, water, you have local home improvement stores that are donating stuff like bolt cutters and tools and trucks just to try to help these search crews as they go through this terrible task of just trying to clear stuff away and identify bodies and continue with this recovery."

Asked whether the finger pointing has started, Repp replied, "It depends on who you talk to at this point. You do have a lot of reporters who are doing their job and saying what about this? You had a partial slide in 2006 and there were homes that were built in this area afterwards. You have an emergency management coordinator saying this area was deemed safe from a flooding perspective and from a surface landslide perspective.

"As you can see from the aerial pictures, this was not a surface landslide, this was a whole hillside giving away, a big chunk of earth just sliding down. So [the emergency manager's]  take on this was nobody could've really braced for something like this unless you go back thousands and thousands of years, and where are you going to draw the line on what's safe? "

Repp continued, "I was talking with another colleague who said on the east coast they have hurricanes that come through all the time and people build and rebuild. So what is the role of government as far as saying what is permissible and what is not? So you do have that debate going on right now."

While the community waits for more relief, Repp said, it is coming together "in an incredible way."

"There are prayer services going on tonight, there's a community meeting later on tonight as well. And so, you have people who are used to helping out their neighbors and they're doing that in an unprecedented way while they wait for that federal aid," he said.

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The search in Washington State after the deadly weekend mudslide has become more of a recovery than a rescue operation, says Seattle radio reporter Jon Repp of KOMO News radio. What we are seeing today is we're seeing a lot more help that is arriving. You have some...
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Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 06:45 PM
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