In the wake of last week's devastating twisters in the Southern U.S.—the deadliest natural disaster to occur in America since Hurricane Katrina—the federal government has rushed to provide aid to tornado victims and pledged to help rebuild flattened towns in hard-hit states like Alabama. The government's prompt response and President Obama's survey of the damage in Alabama on Friday was pushed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which reached out to Alabama's Governor Robert Bentley just after the tornadoes touched down on Wednesday. FEMA officials contacted the White House before Alabama had submitted a formal request for the government to declare a national emergency. "We can't control when or where a terrible storm may strike, but we can control how we respond to it," Obama said prior to signing a disaster declaration for Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. "They have been very proactive and very reactive to our requests," said Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL).