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Obama Inks Emergency Declaration, Asks for Prayers for Mudslide Victims

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President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he has signed a declaration for a state of emergency in the state of Washington, where at least 14 people have been killed in a mudslide and dozens more are missing.

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"While I won't get ahead of the ongoing response and rescue operations, we know that part of this tightly knit community has been lost," Obama said.

"I would just ask that all Americans to send their thoughts and prayers to Washington state and the community of Oso and the families and friends who continue to be missing. We hope for the best but we recognize that this is a tough situation."

Obama said he spoke Tuesday to Gov. Jay Inslee, who declared a state of emergency, which he then signed "to make sure he has all the resources that he needs."

Inslee said the "aggressive" rescue effort was ramping up with the arrival of 80 members of a well-equipped urban search-and-rescue team, and a National Guard unit that specializes in extractions set to come in later Tuesday.

“There’s a small-town, can-do spirit here at work. It’s good to have the White House helping out as well," he said.

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