THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Salt Lake City, Utah)
|For Immediate Release|| ||February 28, 1998|
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles, California
6:05 P.M. PST
THE PRESIDENT: I'd like to begin by thankingCongresswoman Millender-McDonald (sp), Congressman Sherman, and LoriMelina (sp) and Javier Zloski (sp) for joining me here.
I have just met with some of the people who werehurt by the terrible weather you've had in Southern Californiaover the last week, as well as a number of the people who wereinvolved in the rescue effort. Let me begin by saying that ourhearts and prayers are with the families who lost their lovedones. I especially want to send our condolences to the familiesof Officer Rick Stovall and Officer Britt Irvine who gave theirlives in the line of service as they responded to the emergencyin Santa Maria.
There were many people of all ages who lost theirlives in this terrible tragedy. I received a fax from a friendof mine yesterday whose son lost a childhood friend of his, ayoung fellow student. I met a young woman in there in themeeting who lost her fiance after he had saved the lives of awoman and her three young children.
There is very little that anyone can say at thismoment to ease the human loss. We do know that the weather weare experiencing now has been dramatically aggravated because ofEl Nino. I have visited with families in Florida where 39 peoplewere killed in the worst tornado in 50 years, in NorthernCalifornia and now here today.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has spent alot of time in Southern California in the last five years andcouple of months since I've been President. I talked with JamesLee Witt in some detail before I came down here today. We aredetermined to do all we can. FEMA is responding swiftly toprovide disaster relief funds in 35 counties, including over $2
million more for Glenn County. The SBA has an outreach office inOrange County and Federal Highway Administration personnel havealready released $40 million to California for road repairs.
There will be a lot more to be done. The members ofCongress and the local officials have talked to me about otherthings that we need to do to deal with the particular problems ofpeople who lost everything or who are still at risk of furthernatural calamities.
Let me just say today, I want more than anythingelse to praise the courage of those who worked so hard duringthis disaster -- the fire, the police personnel, the emergencypersonnel, all the others who were involved. Many of them riskedtheir lives, and as we know, two lost their lives -- and topraise the courage of the people who have lost everything theyhave but still have their lives. I want to encourage them, totell them their fellow Americans are thinking about them and topray for tranquil weather as we begin the rebuilding process.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)