President Bush visits flood-damaged areas

Posted by Melissa Greathouse

The impact of the devastation can be overwhelming when seen first-hand.

President Bush made his first visit to the flood zone today. His mission was two-fold: comfort for the victims and encouragement for those working on the front lines of this fight.

"It's a tough time for you," he said. "The people of Iowa are tough people. You'll come back better."

The president said the coordinated effort between federal, state, and local strike teams was working the way it was supposed to and praised FEMA for a "proactive" response.

He also promised almost $3 billion in federal aid for the long term recovery. "We're going to help you recover," he said.

As the president toured areas where the water has been, work continued where it is likely going next.

Dozens of towns along the Mississippi are bracing for the water headed their way.

But evacuee Melody Chapman still worries. "I'll make it I guess. Hope there is somebody with my back, but I'll make it somehow."

And somewhere, other than the place she called home before the water started pouring in. "I'm not going to move back in. I'm going to find higher grounds," she said.

It's a move thousands across the Midwest are now considering.

Pike county is among seven more counties approved Thursday by President Bush to receive individual federal assistance. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, as well as low cost loans. Gibson and Knox have already been approved.

FEMA has opened a disaster recovery center at the Knox County fairgrounds in Bicknell to assist flood victims with the application process. It's open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and closed on Sundays.