Tornadoes in Kentucky: Biden declares a federal emergency

State went through one of the worst series of tornadoes in the country

Published in 13/12/2021 - 09:35 By RTP - Mayfield (EUA)

US President Joe Biden has declared a federal state of emergency in the state of Kentucky that has experienced "one of the worst series of tornadoes" in the country's history. Gov. Andy Beshear said the death toll could be lower than anticipated.

“It's a tragedy, and we still don't know how many lives were lost, nor the full extent of the damage,” Biden said.

Federal disaster-response agencies have already begun moving into the region, Biden said, promising that "the state will do all it can to help."

A state of emergency has been declared in Kentucky and could be enacted in the other states hardest hit by the catastrophe, such as Illinois and Tennessee, if governors so request.

The emergency declaration streamlines the process of providing federal aid to deal with the damage caused by the storms and tornadoes that devastated much of the state.

Biden added that he plans to travel to Kentucky, noting that he does not want to "obstruct relief operations."

number of dead

Andy Beshear, who had anticipated a death toll in excess of 100, revised the number and, later that Sunday afternoon (12), stated that the death toll could reach 50.

“We are praying that the initial estimates are wrong. If so, it will be very good”, said Beshear.

Tornadoes have almost completely destroyed the county of Mayfield, Kentucky, where rescue workers are continuing their search to find survivors.

In a candle factory, where there were 110 people, eight deaths were confirmed and eight people are still missing. Bob Ferguson, a spokesman for Mayfield Consumer Products, revealed that 90 people had already been located, a number that authorities are seeking to confirm.

“We are still receiving information about the candle factory. The owner contacted us and believes he has different information. We are trying to verify. If so, it could be a better situation and the miracle we've been waiting for,” added Beshear.

In Illinois, a warehouse for online commerce giant Amazon collapsed overnight after the tornado hit, leaving six dead.

In Arkansas, at least two people died and several were trapped in a nursing home after a tornado hit the building. Four people died in Tennessee and two in Missouri.

More than 30 tornadoes in seven states

A powerful storm tore through the Mississippi Basin and parts of the Southeast and Midwest of the United States on Friday night (10), generating more than 30 tornadoes that left a trail of destruction in six states - Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Mayfield, a community of about 10,000 in southwest Kentucky, was hit hardest by the series of tornadoes with most of the buildings virtually destroyed.

Kentucky, in the east-central part of the country, has been particularly hard hit by the violent weather phenomenon, which mainly affects the vast American plains, with black columns sweeping the ground, illuminated by intermittent lightning.

A climate expert told The Guardian that spring is the main season for tornadoes and that it is a very unusual situation in December, when it is cooler, which normally limits the formation of the phenomenon.

The United States averages more than 1,200 tornadoes annually.

Text translated using artificial intelligence.

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