Biden Promises Robust U.S. Aid for Tornado-Ravaged Kentucky
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden pledged robust federal assistance for Kentucky communities ravaged by tornadoes last week, expressing surprise at the scope of the devastation.
“There’s no red tornadoes or blue tornadoes,” Biden said at a briefing with leaders of the state, which tilts Republican but currently has a Democratic governor. “I’ve not seen this much damage from a tornado.”
“I just want you to know the help we’re able to offer at the federal level is not just now,” he added. “There may be things available that will be helpful 6 weeks, 6 months from now that you may be unaware of.”
The governor, Andy Beshear, put the death toll in his state at 74, with dozens of others unaccounted for, after twisters swept through last week. Tornadoes associated with the same storm system hit at least four other states as well.
Many houses were destroyed or heavily damaged and thousands in the region were left without electricity and water.
Biden traveled to southwestern Kentucky for a tour of Mayfield, which was decimated by the storm, and received a briefing from local leaders on the impact of extreme weather.
Walking through the city’s main drag, Biden saw roofs that had caved in and walls that had been completely destroyed. There were piles of bricks, wood and mangled tree branches where buildings once stood. At one corner, the front door and windows of First Baptist Ministries Center were gone but a cross spanned the full height of the building’s second floor.
The president also toured a neighborhood in Dawson Springs, another community with extensive damage, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northeast of Mayfield.
“We’re going to get every single thing you need, and I’m going to make sure the federal government does what’s needed,” Biden said.
Beshear said it could take days for search and rescue teams to finish operations and know the full extent of the death toll, and that cleanup could take years.
Biden was joined by Beshear, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell.
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