Bush pledges help for tornado victims

President Bush, seen with first lady Laura Bush arriving at Saint John's Church near the White House in Washington, Sunday, May 6, 2007, noted 'a pioneer spirit;' in the Midwest, and said he's confident the tornado-torn Kansas community will be rebuilt.Lawrence Jackson / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

President Bush said Sunday that Americans' "hearts are heavy" for tornado victims in devastated Greensburg, Kan., and he expressed confidence the farming town will be rebuilt.

"It's going to take a long time for the community to recover, and so we will help in any way we can," Bush said outside St. John's Church, across from the White House, where he and first lady Laura Bush attended a worship service.

A tornado that killed at least eight people in Greensburg was one of many twisters that touched down in six southwest Kansas counties. Numerous other tornadoes were reported in the Plains from South Dakota south into Oklahoma.

"Our hearts are heavy for the loss of life in Greensburg, Kansas," Bush said about the tornado that demolished 95 percent of the town. "It just basically wiped it out."

Bush said Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., briefed him on the destruction. "They said to me, `It's hard to describe how bad this community was hit,'" Bush said.

The president has declared parts of Kansas a disaster area, freeing up federal money to aid in recovery.

"There's a certain spirit in the Midwest of our country - a pioneer spirit that still exists, and I'm confident this community will be rebuilt," Bush said. "To the extent that we can help, we will.

"The most important thing now, though, is for our citizens to ask for the good Lord to comfort those who hurt."