Clinton Tours A Devastated Arkansas

  • Share
  • Read Later
ARKADELPHIA, Arkansas: Dressed in blue jeans and a navy blue Air Force jacket, stopping to squeeze hands and dispense consoling words, President Clinton returned to his home state to witness the effects of a series of weekend tornadoes that left 25 Arkansans dead and nine counties federal disaster areas. "Don't worry," he said, hugging Karen Kirkpatrick, the owner of an engine repair business blown away in the storm. "We're going to move forward." For a President who has travelled to disaster sites ranging from floods to earthquakes, it could have been a catastrophe like any other. But this time was different. During a 30-minute helicopter flight from Little Rock to Arkadelphia, Clinton looked out over familiar roads and towns that had been reduced to little more than piles of rubble and twisted trees. At least one of the victims -- 62-year-old L.B. Porter, who was found dead in a muddy ditch outside of Little Rock -- was a personal acquaintance, Clinton said. More trips may be yet to come. After a weekend of flooding, waters continued to rise in the Ohio River Tuesday, forcing Ohio Governor George Voinovich to declare a state of emergency in 14 counties and deploy 400 National Guard troops to organize relief efforts. In Indiana, a state of emergency was declared in ten counties, while Kentucky continued to struggle with the surging water that has put nine counties so far on the petition list for federal disaster assistance.