President Joe Biden toured several areas of Kentucky on Wednesday ravaged between Friday and Saturday by tornadoes that affected at least six states in the country and promised to do “whatever is necessary” to support reconstruction efforts.
“I promise you: they will heal, we will recover,” said the president in a speech in Dawson Springs, after touring this and other locations in Kentucky heavily hit by the storm, which caused at least 74 deaths in that state.
Wearing a blue cap and no tie, Biden waved and shook the hands of locals waiting to see him, some of them sitting on the rubble of what was left after the tornadoes hit.
“I intend to do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to support their state, their local leaders, and as they recover and rebuild because they will recover and rebuild,” added Biden.
The president asked to keep the faith and recounted his personal experience when, in 1972, he lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident before Christmas.
Biden arrived first at the Fort Campbell military base, located on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, and undertook a tour, on foot and by helicopter, through the towns of Mayfield – where the collapse of a candle factory caused eight deaths – Princeton and Dawson Springs.
On his itinerary, he was accompanied by the Governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, and his wife, Britainy Beshear, as well as by local authorities and members of his Administration.
Biden announced that his Government will cover 100% of the cost of the first 30 days of emergency work, removal and cleaning of debris, as well as the mobilized personnel, among others.
He also highlighted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has 69 electric power generators, some 144,000 liters of drinking water, and around 24,000 food rations to support the communities.
The help, he assured, will include emotional support for those who require it: “There is a lot of post-traumatic stress when you are lying in your house and suddenly the roof flies and you wonder if your children are around,” admitted Biden, who recalled that not only the soldiers and their family members face these types of situations.
The president also warned that this year alone, events related to climate change have caused losses estimated at 99,000 million dollars.
In that sense, he illustrated that the fires, including those that affected California, this year devastated an area “larger than the entire state of New Jersey”, of just over 19,000 square kilometers, and indicated that in this matter “there is much to do “.
Before the words of Biden, the governor of Kentucky, who has been at the forefront of emergency care, trusted that the Americans will work “together” in the recovery of the devastated areas in the state.
“You might think we are broken, but we are not. In Kentucky, we are good people, we love and support each other,” said Beshear, who thanked the “pure and unconditional love” from across the country.
He thanked Biden for the three personal calls he made on the first day of the disaster and for the approval, in record time, of the emergency declaration, which allows them to have more federal funds.
In addition to the 74 deaths in Kentucky, 4 deaths have been reported in Tennessee, 2 in Arkansas, two Missouri, and 6 more in Illinois, where a large warehouse of the electronic commerce company Amazon partially collapsed, as a result of the storm that has caused a total of 88 deaths and considerable material damage.