Insight Online News
Washington, Dec 12 : US President Joe Biden has pledged federal support to six tornado-affected states, where above 80 people are dead.
While media reports on death toll put it above 80 as more casualties were feared with relief and rescue still underway, till now at least 84 people are feared dead after 30 tornadoes ripped through six states — Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee — from Friday night to Saturday.
According to a report by CNN, at least 84 people are likely dead, out of which about 70 people are from Kentucky itself.
“I’m pretty sure that number is north of 70 … it may, in fact exceed 100 before the day is done,” Governor Andy Beshear said at a press conference.
He further said, “The devastation is unlike anything I have seen in my life and I have trouble putting it into words.
“It’s very likely going to be over 100 people lost here in Kentucky.”
Meanwhile, Arkansas has reported two deaths, four in Tennessee, six in Illinois and two in Missouri.
According to the Edwardsville Fire Department, at least six people have died at the Amazon warehouse in Illinois that collapsed from tornado damage, while 45 people made it out of the building.
On Saturday, Biden said, “Earlier today I called the governors of the states that have been experiencing severe impacts of the storms including Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, as well as Tennessee and also spoke with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I want to emphasize what I told all the governors, the federal government will do everything, everything you can possibly do to help.”
He further said, “I also approved the emergency declaration that was requested a couple of hours ago by Governor Beshear of Kentucky. That’s going to accelerate federal emergency assistance for Kentucky right now, when it’s urgently needed.
“And I stand ready to do the same for the governors of the other states — and I’ve made it clear to them — if they request emergency declaration.”
“I’ve also requested that FEMA offer additional federal resources, including help with temporary housing, where homes have been wiped out or too badly damaged to live in,” he said.
He further said he is planning to travel the affected regions to review the damage.
Citing climate change as having a role in the severity of the storms, he said, “All that I know is that the intensity of the weather across the board has some impacts as a consequence of the warming of the planet.
“But the fact is that we all know everything is more intense when the climate is warming everything, and obviously it has some impact here, but I can’t give you a quantitative read on that,” Biden added.
According to New York Times report, the storms — dark and immense funnel clouds that roared across the nighttime landscape — obliterated homes, churches and businesses, set buildings on fire and knocked a train with 28 empty rail cars from its tracks, leaving unearthly scenes of destruction.
Meanwhile, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has deployed emergency response assets to its key counties in Western New York as the region gets ready for a strong weather front, which is expected to bring high winds and rains on Saturday night.