Home FOREIGN Washington Governor Proclaims State Of Emergency As Mudslide Renders 108 People Missing

Washington Governor Proclaims State Of Emergency As Mudslide Renders 108 People Missing

Washington Governor, Jay Inslee
Washington Governor, Jay Inslee

Washington Governor, Jay Inslee has proclaimed a state of emergency after a devastating mudslide occured in a rural part of Washington state, leaving eight people dead and about 100 others missing.
The governor, who described the scene as “a square mile of total devastation” after flying over the disaster area midday, assured families that everything was being done to find their missing loved ones.
Officials described the mudslide as “a big wall of mud and debris.” It blocked about a mile of State Route 530 near the town of Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle. It was reported to be about 15 feet deep in some areas.
Authorities believe the slide was caused by ground made unstable by recent heavy rainfall.
The slide wiped through what neighbors described as a former fishing village of small homes — some nearly 100 years old.
The search for the missing ones is continuing even as authorities said some may have been able to get out on their own. The number unaccounted for could change because some people may have been in cars and on roads when the slide hit just before 11 a.m. Saturday, authorities said.
A 1-square-mile mudslide struck Saturday morning in Snohomish County, critically injuring several people and destroying about 30 several homes. Eight bodies have been pulled from the scene and authorities described the search for additional survivors to be “grim.”
John Pennington, emergency response managing director, said there are reports of up to 108 people missing in the mudslide but noted that number is unconfirmed.
“This is a large scale disaster event,” Pennington said, adding: “we have 108 individual names, or likeness … It’s a soft 108.
“It was Saturday and probably a higher number than what you would see on a week day,” he said of the victims during a press conference today. Pennington said it remains unclear how many structures were impacted at the time.
Crews were able to get to the muddy, tree-strewn area after geologists flew over in a helicopter and determined it was safe enough for emergency responders and technical rescue personnel to search for possible survivors, Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said Sunday evening.
“We didn’t see or hear any signs of life out there today,” he said, adding that they did not search the entire debris field, only drier areas safe to traverse. “It’s very disappointing to all emergency responders on scene.”
Hospital spokeswoman, Susan Gregg said two men, ages 37 and 58, were in serious condition, while a 25-year-old woman was upgraded to satisfactory condition.
Bruce Blacker, who lives just west of the slide, doesn’t know the whereabouts of six neighbors.
“It’s a very close knit community,” Blacker said as he waited at an Arlington roadblock before troopers let him through. There were almost 20 homes in the neighborhood that was destroyed, he said.
Search-and-rescue help came from around the region, including the Washington State Patrol and the Army Corps of Engineers. More than 100 were at the scene.
Evacuation shelters were set up at Post Middle School in Arlington and the Darrington Community Center.
Dane Williams, 30, who lives a few miles from the mudslide, spent Saturday night at a Red Cross shelter at the Arlington school.
He said he saw a few “pretty distraught” people at the shelter who didn’t know the fate of love.

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