On Saturday afternoon, President Joe Biden responded to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s request for aid and signed a federal emergency disaster declaration for Kentucky, according to the official White House website.
Deanne Criswell, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security named John Brogan as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.
At least 70 people are confirmed dead or missing in the wake of the tornadoes that struck the state late Friday night into early Saturday morning. The death toll is expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue.
At Least Ten Counties In Kentucky Rumored To Face Casualties
CANDLE FACTORY COLLAPSE: Gov. Beshear says >100 people were working at a candle factory in Mayfield overnight when the roof collapsed killing dozens of people.
Here are before and after photos of the factory
— Julie Dolan (@WLKYJulie) December 11, 2021
One of the hardest-hit areas was a candle factory, which contained 110 people at the time of the tornado.
“We’re going to lose a lot of lives in that facility and I pray that there will be another rescue but it’s a very dire situation at this point,” the Kentucky Governor said in a press conference earlier today.
“Seeing it, I think it was absolutely incredible, the number that were saved,” he continued. “I think the largest loss of life in this tornado event is and will be there. It may be the largest loss of life in any tornado event in a single location, and again, in the state’s history.”
One of the survivors of the candle factory was a worker who was supposed to be celebrating her 40th birthday today.
Biden Gives Press Conference, Heart Goes Out To Victims And Survivors
Biden assured the public that he was staying informed with regular updates and had been in contact with mayors and governors of affected states and towns.
“I was told early this morning that one of the – the equivalent of a county executive – one of the folks in Kentucky, he was lost in this tornado,” Biden began, saying that his heart went out to him and his family.
“I want folks in all these states to know that we’re going to get through this. We’re going to get through this together, and the federal government is not going to walk away,” Biden continued. “This is one of those times when we aren’t Democrats or Republicans. It sounds like hyperbole but it’s real. We’re all Americans. We stand together as the United States of America.”
“And so I say to all the victims, you’re in our prayers and all those first responders, emergency personnel, and everyone helping their fellow Americans – this is the right thing to do at the right time and we’re going to get through this.”
Biden also answered questions about climate change, saying that he was going to ask the EPA and other organizations to take a look at whether last night’s unprecedented storm could have been caused by climate change.
“The fact is that we all know that everything is more intense when the climate is warming,” he said. “And obviously it has some impact here but I can’t give you a quantitative read on that.”