Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said on Sunday that widespread damage is making rescue efforts a challenge in his state after tornadoes swept through the region two days ago.
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"I've got towns that are gone," Beshear said on CNN's "State of the Union" program. "My dad's home town, Paxton, isn't standing. It is hard to describe."
"You think you can go door to door to check on people and see if they're OK there are no doors. The question is, is somebody in the rubble of thousands upon thousands of structures?" he said. "It is devastating."
Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on his administration’s response to the Dec. 11 quad-state tornado outbreak.
To watch the Governor’s remarks, click here. The Governor provided key updates:
This was the worst tornado event in state history;
At least four tornados touched down in Kentucky; one was on the ground for more than 200 miles in this state alone;
1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed
In eight counties, lives were lost;
In eighteen counties, there was significant damage;
There are 64 confirmed deaths at this point: 20 in Graves County, 13 in Hopkins County, 11 in Muhlenberg County; 12 in Warren County; four in Caldwell County; one each in Marshall, Taylor, Fulton and Lyon counties;
There are 18 people who died in the storm who are still unidentified;
Ages of those lost range from 5 months to 86 years;
105 people remain unaccounted for;
Mayfield Consumer Products owner says eight employees were killed and eight are still missing. The Governor is hoping for a miracle and is working to confirm this report;
Final death and destruction numbers may take a week or more;
The declaration makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Caldwell, Fulton, Graves, Hopkins, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Taylor and Warren counties;
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 (for deaf or hard-of-hearing Kentuckians); The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice;
At least 300 National Guard members have been deployed to help;
Hundreds of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Energy and Environment Cabinet Division of Forestry staff members are clearing debris;
Kentucky State Parks in the area are now open to host families who need housing for at least two weeks. Volunteers who are willing to assist state parks staff housing distressed guests should contact Kentucky State Parks Division Director Andy Kasitz at email@example.com;
The Governor ordered flags to be flown at half staff Tuesday through next Monday evening in honor of those lost and impacted;
The Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund will provide $5,000 to each victim’s family for funeral expenses. There is no need to apply the state will be working to contact families. ■