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Biden Visits Kentucky Towns Devastated by Tornadoes


President Joe Biden speaks after surveying storm damage from tornadoes and extreme weather in Dawson Springs, Ky., Dec. 15, 2021.

U.S. President Joe Biden visited the state of Kentucky on Wednesday to get a first-hand look at the devastation spawned by a string of tornadoes that killed at least 74 people and left thousands homeless.

Biden was briefed about the recovery efforts from the storms that hit Kentucky and neighboring states late Friday and early Saturday. He flew over two towns – Mayfield and Dawson Springs – left flattened by the tornadoes and then walked along rubble-strewn streets to commiserate with survivors.

The president has promised quick federal funding to help the communities rebuild, but with the devastation so all-encompassing, the effort will be tantamount to building new towns.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, right, listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a briefing from local leaders on the storm damage from tornadoes and extreme weather at Mayfield Graves County Airport in Mayfield, Ky., Dec. 15, 2021.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, right, listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a briefing from local leaders on the storm damage from tornadoes and extreme weather at Mayfield Graves County Airport in Mayfield, Ky., Dec. 15, 2021.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said Tuesday that more than 100 people are unaccounted for in the state, most of them in Dawson Springs, a town of fewer than 3,000 people.

Aboard Air Force One en route to Kentucky, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, “The president’s message today is that he and the federal government intend to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes by providing any support that is needed to aid recovery efforts and support the people of Kentucky and of other impacted states as they rebuild.”

Jose Rivas, left, looks at tornado damage, Dec. 14, 2021, in Bowling Green, Ky.
Jose Rivas, left, looks at tornado damage, Dec. 14, 2021, in Bowling Green, Ky.

Biden has approved federal disaster declarations for Kentucky and neighboring Tennessee and Illinois after the storms unleashed more than 30 tornadoes on five states. At least 88 people died in total.

Biden’s trip to Kentucky was the fifth he has made during his 11 months as president to view the devastation wrought by extreme weather occurrences blamed at least partially on climate change.

Just a month after he took office last January, the president surveyed widespread storm damage in Houston, Texas; visited wildfire-ravaged areas of Idaho, Colorado and California in the summer and after Hurricane Ida struck, went to Louisiana in the southern U.S., as well as New Jersey and New York, in September.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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