AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Trump signs Bibles of tornado survivors in Alabama

Sat 09 Mar 2019
By Cara Bentley

The US President has visited a church relief centre to thank first responders to the tornado. 

Donald Trump went to Providence Baptist Church to pay respect to the 23 people who were killed by the storm in the rural Alabama town of Beauregard. 

He observed a moment of silence before white wooden crosses which stood in remembrance of each victim .

The church was hosting a makeshift relief centre for survivors of Sunday's twister which Trump and his wife Melania visited after looking out over the debris and destruction of the area. 

"We saw things that you wouldn't believe," Mr Trump said after visiting a section of the town where tornado winds tore houses from their foundations and uprooted trees.

At Providence Baptist Church, Mr Trump thanked law enforcement officials and other first responders and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who oversees the FEMA.

"We couldn't get here fast enough," Mr Trump said following the private church meeting.

"I wanted to come the day it happened," he said, adding that Governor Kay Ivey had asked him to wait.

Before leaving the church, Mr Trump posed for a photograph with a fifth-grader who has been volunteering there and signed the child's Bible, said Ada Ingram, a local volunteer.

Chats of "USA!" broke out as Mr Trump prepared to depart the church. He visited the nearby crosses before heading for Air Force One.

Pastor of Providence Baptist Church, Rusty Sowell, said the president's visit was uplifting and would help bring attention to a community that will need a long time to recover.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint," Mr Sowell said.

Four children and a couple in their 80s died, with 10 victims belonging to a single extended family. Several people in Georgia were injured by twisters that also extended to Florida and South Carolina, according to the National Weather Service.

Additional reporting from PA. 

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