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Bush to Inspect Damage in Flooded Iowa

U.S. President George Bush will visit the Midwest state of Iowa Thursday to inspect damage from major flooding along the Mississippi River. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Mr. Bush says he will work with Congress to replenish funds used to help those affected by natural disaster.

Federal officials briefed the president on efforts to shore-up levees along the Mississippi River and help those displaced by the flooding. Crews along the river have been working feverishly stacking sandbags to keep the water from spilling out into low lying areas.

Speaking to reporters after that briefing, Mr. Bush said there has been close coordination between federal and state authorities.

"We're in constant contact with people on the ground to help make sure that we save lives," he said. "Now that the water is beginning to recede, the question is how do we help with the recovery?"

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is still assessing the economic impact of the flooding. President Bush says he understands many people are upset about loosing their homes and businesses.

"We are worried about farmers and ranchers. The country that is being affected by these floods has got a lot of farm country, a lot people raising livestock," he said.

Officials are reinforcing levees in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri to prevent further damage from river water that has already closed bridges and destroyed homes.

President Bush said there is enough money in a federal emergency fund to pay for the clean-up and help those affected by the flooding. He will work with lawmakers to ensure those funds are replaced ahead of another natural disaster.

"Congress doesn't need to worry about working with the White House on this because we think the supplemental is the way to go," he said. "What they do need to worry about is making sure there is enough but not too much money in the fund so that we can say we've done our job."

The president will visit Iowa Thursday to meet with some of those affected by the flooding.