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Public Statements

CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript

Interview

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I was just getting some information in my ear, and that is the fact that the governor of Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon, is now on the phone with me.

Governor, we are thinking about all of you. We just played a little sound as I know you were peppered with questions from reporters earlier.

Mr. Governor, if you can, just set the scene for me. How bad is it?

NIXON: Well, we're here in Branson, Missouri, where the tornado stretched across almost nine miles right down central here in the entertainment zone of Branson.

There are hundreds of millions of dollars of physical damage, but the key here is folks were prepared. And I think it clearly saved lives. While we did lose lives across Missouri and had significant injuries here in Branson, even though there is a tremendous amount of property damage, Branson will secure this site.

We're finishing to go through each building to make sure there's no folks there, but the bottom line is it would appear here in Branson that while there is significant property damage, a nine-mile stretch of the strip here hit and hit hard, that we didn't lose any lives.

BALDWIN: We love hearing that people were prepared. Can you be more specific? What kind of plans were in place, preparations, alarms? What went right?

NIXON: Sirens went off, the alarms went off, the hotels got people into the basements.

Our firefighters and others were on alert. Our alert system worked here. I don't mean to minimize the long time -- the significant amount of damage, but the bottom line is the people of Branson are prepared to rebuild and welcome once again 11 million tourists into this mecca in the heartland here in the coming months and as the summer season starts again.

BALDWIN: Sir, we have heard two people in the state of Missouri have died. Is that the number you have at this hour?

NIXON: At this point, I can confirm three deaths.

BALDWIN: Three.

NIXON: The storm -- the series of storms went all the way from the Kansas border all the way over to the Illinois border. We had significant damage here in Branson, also a town called Buffalo where we had a fatality, town named (INAUDIBLE) where we had a fatality and then all the way over to near the Missouri-Illinois border in the Puxico, where we have had significant damage, and here in Branson with the incredible property damage.

So it's a wide-ranging series of storms that moved very quickly but caused serious and deadly damage across the state of Missouri.

BALDWIN: Sir, just to reiterate to our viewers as you just broke news for us, the kind of news I don't want to sit here and report, but the fact you are now saying three fatalities in the state of Missouri. We had initially two. You are saying that is now up to three.

Governor, what kind of help are you getting, and what kind of help do you need?

NIXON: Well, I have been meeting with local officials here in Branson. We also obviously have our state emergency management up and operating and was working hard this morning in Jeff City before I came down here.

The bottom line is we have our Highway Patrol, we have our Department of Public Safety, we have our state emergency management, we have our National Guard folks here with us. We're working hard to make sure we get a quick response and save lives if there are folks out there that are still in danger.

BALDWIN: Governor Nixon, thank you so much.

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