US President Joe Biden announced that on Wednesday he would travel to Kentucky, the hardest-hit among the eight states devastated by powerful tornadoes and storms over the weekend, to survey the damage caused by the disaster.
Giving an update on the present situation, Biden told reporters on Monday that he was working with Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear on the details of his forthcoming visit to the impacted areas in the state, adding that he doesn’t want to get in the way of recovery efforts, reports Xinhua news agency.
“I haven’t decided where I’m going yet. What I indicated to the Governor when we talked about this two days ago was that I don’t want to be in the way,” Biden said from the White House.
He added that the federal government will ensure that governors of the relevant states get whatever is needed as soon as possible.
Destinations of the presidential trip to Kentucky include Ft. Campbell, where Biden will receive a storm briefing, and Mayfield and Dawson Springs, where he will survey storm damage, according to an announcement the White House issued earlier on Monday morning.
Biden on Sunday approved a state of emergency declaration for Kentucky, where Beshear said at least 64 people were confirmed dead as of Monday morning, with 105 still unaccounted for and the toll expected to rise “certainly” beyond 70, “maybe even 80”.
The emergency declaration frees up federal fund to the affected areas.
There were at least 50 tornado reports from December 10 to 11 in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee, according to the Storm Prediction Center.