President Joe Biden called the damage done by a series of powerful tornadoes that swept through the central US “devastating” Saturday and directed federal agencies to provide needed resources to the states affected.
“To lose a loved one in a storm like this is an unimaginable tragedy,” BIden tweeted. “We’re working with governors to ensure they have what they need as the search for survivors and damage assessments continue.”
Kentucky Gov, Andy Beshear said during a midday press conference he expected a federal disaster declaration for his state in the coming hours. At least 70 and possibly over 100 people were killed in Kentucky alone as the twisters steamed hundreds of miles north. At least two Kentucky towns were leveled, including one where a candle factory collapsed.
Multiple deaths were also reported in Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee. One person died in Arkansas when a twister hit a nursing home.
Biden was briefed early Saturday by Deanne Criswell, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator and other officials. A White House statement said she “described the severe consequences, including in Kentucky, and tragic losses of life” following the storms.
“She also briefed on the rapid deployment of FEMA emergency response personnel, water and other needed commodities,” the White House said.
Because of the ongoing damage assessments, the statement said the president will receive further briefings on the situation during the day.