Kentucky Gov. confirms multiple fatalities following tornadoes

Governor Andy Beshear announced on Monday there are 74 confirmed deaths from Friday night’s tornado outbreak.
Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 10:34 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 13, 2021 at 4:40 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -

Kentucky Governor Press Conference

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear provides an update on storm response following deadly storms over the weekend.

Posted by WVLT on Monday, December 13, 2021

Governor Andy Beshear announced on Monday there are 74 confirmed deaths from Friday night’s tornado outbreak.

Kentucky declared a state of emergency the midnight before the tornado hit, according to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

Over 300 guardsmen with the National Guard are in Kentucky to help law enforcement and to assist with debris removal, according to Beshear.

“They are doing everything from going door to door though, in many of these communities we don’t have doors anymore,” said Beshear. “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.”

Just 40 hours after the storm hit, workers have already started moving debris out. They’re working to get enough water for the hospital to be able to function.

Officials set up the Western Kentucky Relief Fund that has received more than 18,000 donations from people around the United States, totaling more than $2.3 million.

“I want to thank everyone for standing with the people of Kentucky,” he said. “We feel it. We want to thank the rest of the country for your attention, for your help, and for your prayers,” said Beshear.

Beshear said one of the first costs the money will go towards is funeral assistance.

“The very first thing we have to do is grieve together and we’re going to do that before we rebuild together,” he said.

State parks are open to try to guarantee everyone without a home at least a two-week stay at no charge.

“I wish I understood why we’ve gotten hit with the pandemic, historic ice storm, flooding, and now the worst tornado in our history, all in a span of 19 months,” he said. “But I do know is that in Kentucky we’re good people. We care about one another, that’s why people were out in this storm, helping their neighbors or people they don’t know.”

Kentucky Storm Damage

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear gives an update on the damage from the quad state tornado. More: https://bit.ly/3GDUSug

Posted by WVLT on Sunday, December 12, 2021

Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security toured the candle factory site with Deanne Criswell, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“I saw on-site a backpack that was left behind and a pair of shoes,” said Mayorkas. “We’ve learned of a telephone that was recovered, a cellphone that recorded 27 missed messages.”

A Major Disaster Declaration has also been requested which will help individuals, according to Criswell. Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams will be sent out into the area so those that don’t have phone service can also receive aid.

Michael Dossett, director, Kentucky Emergency Management said state officials have requested several more search and rescue teams to assist in other areas of Kentucky.

“Assistance was on the way before we had the first declaration,” said Dossett.

Survivors in counties approved for individual assistance can apply for disaster assistance. The fastest way to apply is through their website.

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