Dec 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Kentucky governor outlines tornado recovery efforts

aerial photo shows a damage as cleanup efforts continue after tornado hit Mayfield, Kentucky,

Cleanup efforts continue after a tornado hit Mayfield, Ky., on Dec. 10. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear outlined ongoing recovery efforts on Sunday in the aftermath of the "devastating" damage caused by deadly tornados.

State of play: 18 counties have been impacted and between 36,000 and 50,000 people are without power as of Sunday, Beshear said during the briefing. He'd said earlier on Sunday that more 80 people are presumed dead.

  • More than 300 National Guard service members have been deployed and "they're going rubble to rubble searching, hopefully, for survivors, but otherwise to at least have certainty for families that we can advise them of their loss."
  • They have also begun debris removal and are assisting law enforcement.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who also attended the briefing, added that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is "helping deliver food, water, shelter, power and all necessary aid to local communities."

  • President Biden on Saturday issued an emergency declaration in Kentucky and ordered federal assistance to support recovery efforts.

State parks are open and providing assistance to people who need temporary housing.

  • "We are trying to guarantee everybody a two-week stay so they're not worried about tomorrow, they can worry about finding their relatives, making sure their kids have enough to eat," Beshear said.

What they're saying: "To the people of America, there is no lens big enough to show you the extent of the damage here in Graves County, or in Kentucky," the governor said. "Nothing that was standing in the direct line of this tornado is still standing."

  • "I want to thank everybody for standing with the people of Kentucky. We feel it," he said, adding: "In fact, one of our biggest challenges right now is organizing the amount of people that want to help, want to donate and want to volunteer."

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