Salem Radio Network News Friday, June 2, 2023


Biden tours tornado-hit Mississippi town, will announce funding

By Steve Holland

ROLLING ROCK, Mississippi (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday toured scenes of devastation in a Mississippi town after storms last week killed 26 people and destroyed homes and property in Mississippi and Alabama.

As Biden and first lady Jill Biden drove through Rolling Fork, they saw the damage left by a powerful tornado that reduced many of the community’s 400 houses to unrecognizable debris.

“The thing that really always amazes me about all the tornadoes is that you have one house standing, one house from here to the wall, totally destroyed. But for the grace of God,” Biden said.

The Bidens planned to survey recovery efforts and meet first responders, state and local officials and people affected by the recent storms, the White House said.

Rolling Fork, a town of around 1,900 in western Mississippi, was hit the hardest, with tree trunks snapped like twigs and cars tossed aside like toys. The town’s water tower lay twisted on the ground.

“We anticipated some bad weather but all of a sudden it turned into something chaotic,” Mississippi emergency official Clayton French told the Bidens.

The Bidens were briefed outside an undamaged elementary school.

Mississippi officials set up three emergency shelters, including at the National Guard Armory in Rolling Fork. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Deanne Criswell has visited the area and accompanied Biden on Friday.

Biden plans to announce that the federal government will cover for 30 days the full cost of Mississippi’s emergency measures in response to last week’s storm, a White House official said.

Those measures may include removing debris, operating shelters and paying overtime to first responders, the official said.

The Bidens were making the trip to “reaffirm their commitment to supporting the people of Mississippi as long as it takes,” the official said.

FEMA will open disaster recovery centers in four of the state’s counties on Monday, the official added.

Twenty-five people were killed in Mississippi and one in Alabama as a result of the powerful storm.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Josie Kao)


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