President Joe Biden is authorizing emergency assistance after a severe weather system that went through at least five states left widespread devastation.
The Associated Press reports Kentucky’s governor fears tornadoes have killed 70 people in the state and the death toll may exceed 100.
Andy Beshear said Saturday that a twister had touched down for more than 200 miles in the state. Severe storms moved through the area Friday night and caused catastrophic damage across multiple states.
The storms hit a candle factory in Kentucky, an Amazon facility in Illinois and a nursing home in Arkansas. Officials had confirmed 29 deaths, including 22 in three Kentucky counties. Beshear said about 110 people were in the Mayfield factory when the tornado roared through.
Debris from destroyed buildings and shredded trees covered the ground in Mayfield, a city of about 10,000 in western Kentucky. Twisted metal sheeting, downed power lines and wrecked vehicles lined the streets of what was barely recognizable as a town.
On Saturday, President Biden declared that an emergency exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered Federal assistance to supplement Commonwealth and local response efforts.
This action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security,FEMA, to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures.
Specifically, FEMA was authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.