Obama to Visit Tornado Torn Missouri Sunday

May 24, 2011 8:06am

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:

Speaking from London, England two days after the devastating tornadoes that hit Missouri, Minnesota and the Midwest President Obama announced he will visit the devastated region Sunday, one-week after the tornadoes first hit.

“I myself will travel to Missouri to talk with folks who’ve been affected,” Obama said today, “to talk to local officials about our response effort 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.”

The president is currently on the second day his six-day, four-country European visit.

As he flew overnight on Sunday night to Ireland the tornadoes hit. The president was then updated on the situation on Air Force One, receiving multiple briefings on the tornado damage throughout the course of the flight. The president instructed his staff to keep him updated and to stay closely coordinated with state and local officials going forward. 

“Like all Americans, we have been monitoring what’s been taking place very closely and have been heartbroken by the images that we've seen in Joplin, Missouri, in particular. 

In his first on-camera remarks about the tornadoes, from The Winfield House, the Ambassador’s House in London, the president said.

The president reported the damage – - over 100 lost lives, hundreds injured and many more still missing.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who are suffering at this moment.  And all we can do is let them know that all of America cares deeply about them and that we are going to do absolutely everything we can to make sure that they recover.”

Following a phone call Monday with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, President Obama promised “every ounce of resources the federal government may have that we can bring to bear on this situation.” 

Noting that the storms of this weekend have compounded what has already been an “extraordinary storm season” throughout the Midwest and the South, and that more storms are expected today, the president emphasized citizens in the region to listen to travel warnings.

“ I know that a lot of people are wondering how they’ll get through the coming days or months or even years, but I want everybody in Joplin, everybody in Missouri, everybody in Minnesota, everybody across the Midwest to know that we are here for you.  The American people are by your side.  We’re going to stay there until every home is repaired, until every neighborhood is rebuilt, until every business is back on its feet.”

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