After a destructive wave of tornadoes left more than 200 dead, President Obama will travel to Alabama on Friday to inspect the damage and meet with officials coping with the disaster.
At a White House ceremony to announce his new national security team, Obama addressed the storm ravaged South:
"The loss of life has been heartbreaking, especially in Alabama. In a matter of hours these deadly tornadoes, some of the worst that we've seen in decades, took mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors, " Obama said.
He vowed to help the region rebuild and said that he'd been in touch with the governors of Alabama, Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia to help coordinate efforts.
Obama said he was going to the region to examine recovery efforts and comfort the afflicted. He took special note of the efforts of first responders.
"These police officers, firefighters, EMTs and other emergency responders are heroes and they have the thanks of a grateful nation and we pray for their success and we stand with every American affected by this disaster in the days and weeks to come," the president said.
Federal Emergence Management Agency officials have been working with the Alabama government to provide relief to the state's citizens. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has already been dispatched to Alabama.
The president is scheduled to meet with victims, state officials and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican.