The White House said on Sunday that US President Joe Biden has declared a major federal disaster in Kentucky after a cluster of fatal tornadoes that struck the state on Friday. The declaration paves the door for greater government assistance, according to the White House.
According to the announcement, federal assistance will be available to those who have been impacted in the counties of Caldwell, Fulton, Graves, Hopkins, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Taylor, and Warren as a result of the emergency declaration.
A variety of programmes will be available to assist people and businesses in recovering from the disaster’s consequences, including grants for temporary housing and house repairs, loans to cover uninsured property damages, and other forms of financial assistance.
An administration official said that Mr Biden had received the request and had accepted it on Sunday evening.
Officials had predicted that the death toll would surpass 100 by Friday night, and that there would be minimal possibility of locating survivors in the wreckage two days later if the disaster continued. Although Mr. Beshear estimated the death toll at 80, he stated that it would almost certainly exceed 100 because up to 70 people at the candle factory were believed to have perished. However, a company spokesman said that number could be revised down to 16 or fewer, raising the possibility that the governor’s death toll estimate could be significantly lower than previously stated.
According to Bob Ferguson, a representative for Mayfield Consumer Products, eight persons were verified killed and eight others were still missing out of a total of 110 workers that were at the business.
It was first reported that up to 70 people were believed to have died at the plant. Rescue crews were still looking for the eight people who were still unaccounted for, Mr Ferguson said. “We thank God that the number is turning out to be much, far less,” he said in a statement to Reuters.
Exactly how many industrial employees Mr Beshear included in his anticipated death toll was not immediately obvious. Mr Beshear said on Saturday that his estimate had not altered and that it would stay intact – at least for the time being.
The governor said that the tornadoes were the most catastrophic in the state’s history and that even the most sturdy buildings made of steel and masonry were completely destroyed. According to Beshear, one tornado tore across 365 kilometres of land, with almost all of it occurring in Kentucky.
As a result of the storms being designated a federal emergency by the Democratic president, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is able to aid in the aftermath, where thousands of people are experiencing shelter, food, water, and electricity shortages.
According to the Fema website, aid under an emergency declaration is restricted to a maximum of $5 million in value.
There is no time limit on a major disaster designation, which “provides a broad variety of government assistance programmes for people and public infrastructure, including cash for both emergency and temporary repairs.