JOPLIN, Mo. - US President Barack Obama said on Sunday that a tornado that killed at least 139 people in this small town a week ago was a national tragedy that will require a national response.
"We're going to be here long after the cameras leave," he said, referring to federal support for rebuilding efforts that he predicted would be "a tough, long slog."
Obama, who returned on Saturday night from a six-day trip to Europe, toured a disaster scene where crushed cars, piles of wood, clothing and a broken dishwasher lay helter-skelter amid the rubble on lots where houses once stood.
Tree trunks, their branches shorn, were white where the bark was stripped nearby.
The May 22 tornado was the deadliest single twister in the United States since 1947. It killed at least 139 people and injured more than 900. Scores are still unaccounted for.