Biden Says He’ll Visit Tornado-Ravaged Kentucky on Wednesday
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden said he’ll survey tornado damage in Kentucky on Wednesday, after a swarm of twisters swept through the state last week killing dozens.
“This is a narrow path and the devastation is just stunning,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday, showing them maps of the damage after a briefing from federal emergency and homeland security officials.
Biden on Sunday declared a major federal disaster in Kentucky as state and local officials continued to assess damage from the storms. The move will unlock federal aid for temporary housing, home repairs, and loans to help those with uninsured property losses.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said that at least 64 people died from the tornadoes and as many as 100 people remained unaccounted for. The governor said it could take days for search and rescue teams to finish operations and fully know the extent of the death toll, and that cleanup could take years.
He said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the tornadoes left a path on the ground about 227 miles long, 200 of them in Kentucky, that would probably set a record. Some 56,000 homes were without power, he said.
Biden will travel to Fort Campbell in Kentucky for a storm briefing and to Mayfield and Dawson Springs to survey storm damage, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Biden was cautious about attributing blame for the storm to climate change.
“We can’t say with absolute certainty that it was because of climate change,” he said. “What is certain: It is one of the worst tornado disasters we’ve had in the country and the second thing that’s certain is that it is unusual. It is unusual how it happened, how many places it touched down and the length of the path.”
Biden spoke to Beshear multiple times over the weekend, and also spoke with the governors of Illinois, Arkanasas, Missouri, and Tennessee.
The federal government previously announced it was opening shelters across the state and would be dispatching 30,000 meals and 12,000 gallons of water to those in need.
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