LITTLE ROCK, AR -- President Barack Obama will visit Arkansas next week to tour tornado-ravaged towns and speak with victims of the storms.
The White House announced the visit will take place Wednesday. Details on exactly what's planned for the trip are expected in the next few days.
This will mark President Obama's first trip to Arkansas.
The visit was announced by Senator Mark Pryor. Pryor's office reports the president accepted his invitation to travel to Arkansas communities devastated by this week’s deadly tornadoes.
Below is the letter Pryor sent to President Obama:
I write to invite you to travel to the Arkansas communities devastated by this week’s deadly tornadoes.
As you know, my state was recently hit by a series of tornadoes. On Sunday, April 27, 2014, storms tore through large swaths of central Arkansas including Ferndale, Mayflower, Saltillo, Vilonia, El Paso, Center Hill, Step Rock, Denmark, Velvet Ridge, Thida, and Pleasant Plains. To date, 15 lives have been lost, over 150 Arkansans injured, 264 homes destroyed with many more left uninhabitable, numerous businesses have been damaged, and countless families’ belongings strewn for miles and miles.
The last few years have been particularly difficult for our state. We’ve faced dozens of damaging weather events, ranging from tornadoes to ice storms to drought. In fact, some of the communities hit by last week’s storms had just finished rebuilding from a tornado three years ago.
The people of Arkansas are resilient. We’re working tirelessly to begin the process of cleaning up, rebuilding, and getting families back on their feet. It will be a long process, and I know Arkansas would benefit enormously from both private sector and federal assistance. As we see in many crises, Arkansans have come to the aid of their neighbors, family, and friends. Church groups, the American Red Cross, and numerous local and state businesses have come together to help those in need. However, expedited assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration, and other government agencies will be essential as we work to reconstruct the devastated areas of our state.
Your assistance in expediting all necessary aid is crucial to the affected families and communities, and I hope you will be able to join me in Arkansas to witness firsthand not only the damage to our communities but also the resilience, selflessness, and determination of our citizens. I appreciate your consideration of my request.
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