Biden pledges to pay all costs for first 30 days of Kentucky damage clean-up

Biden pledges to pay all costs for first 30 days of Kentucky damage clean-up
An aerial photo made Tuesday with a drone shows damage from a tornado in Cambridge Shores, Ky. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Wednesday traveled to Kentucky, which took the brunt of tornadoes that struck the Midwest last weekend, leaving a wave of destruction and dozens of deaths.

In remarks in the city of Dawson Springs, where about a dozen people died, Biden said the federal government would cover "100% of the cost for the first 30 days for all the emergency work" in the state as he remarked on the damage caused by the tornadoes.


"You know, the scope and scale of this destruction is almost beyond belief ... These tornadoes devoured everything in their path," he said.

Biden flew into Fort Campbell, Ky., Wednesday before touring two of the hardest-hit areas -- including Mayfield, where a twister collapsed a candle manufacturing plant.

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The president then took an aerial tour and visited a neighborhood in Mayfield before delivering his remarks in which he noted he's been "involved in responding to a lot of disasters" as he said survivors are looking for relief.

"You can see it in people's faces," he said. "What the're really looking for ... is just to be able to put their head down on a pillow, be able to close their eyes, take a deep breath, go to sleep and make sure the kids are OK. That's what people are looking for right now."


He added that "a lot of hard work" must happen in the coming months "to bring it all the way back."

Several tornadoes touched down across five states beginning Friday night and continuing into Saturday morning.

Officials say the twisters caused at least 88 deaths from Arkansas to Illinois. Kentucky officials said more than 100 people were unaccounted for in the state.

Biden has approved emergency disaster declarations for Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee to aid in their recovery efforts.

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency is assisting in local search-and-rescue efforts in Kentucky, delivering dozens of generators, along with 135,000 liters of water, tens of thousands of meals and numerous cots and blankets.

The Army Corps of Engineers is helping with debris removal, infrastructure assessment and power restoration.

Thousands of customers in Kentucky were still without power, according to

Rich and Marcia Vance pick through their belongings near their destroyed home in in Defiance, Mo., on Sunday. A tornado hit the small town west of St. Louis last Friday, destroying 25 homes and killing one person. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

In remarks Wednesday, Biden said he instructed his team to make state officials aware of every resource that is available from the federal level.

"Don't hesitate to ask for anything," Biden said, adding that he was "here to listen."

"We have been working around the clock, through the weekend, closely with governors of impacted states and local leaders to ensure they have everything they need to respond to and recover from this unimaginable tragedy," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday after announcing the trip.

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