U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the deadly tornadoes that struck Kentucky, in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., December 11, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Joe Biden said his administration is standing by and ready to do “whatever is needed” after several dozen people were killed by a swarm of powerful tornadoes and storms that ripped across six states starting Friday night.
“The federal government will do everything, everything it can possibly do to help,” Biden said during a press conference Saturday from Wilmington, Delaware.
“I promise you, whatever is needed, whatever is needed, the federal government is going to find a way to supply it,” Biden added.
Irene Noltner consoles Jody O’Neill outside The Lighthouse, a women and children’s shelter that was destroyed by a tornado along with much of the downtown of Mayfield, Kentucky, U.S. December 11, 2021.
Matt Stone | USAToday | Reuters
Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee were hit by more than 30 tornadoes. Biden said that FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is on the ground in each of the six states to assess the damages.
In Kentucky, at least 70 people have died and the number could rise to more than 100. Gov. Andy Beshear said he expects the tornado to be the deadliest one to ever hit the state. More than 180 National Guard have deployed to areas in Western Kentucky, the hardest-hit section of the state.
A woman walks away from a row of ambulances on the property of Mayfield Consumer Products Candle Factory after it was destroyed by a tornado, in Mayfield, Kentucky, on December 11, 2021.
John Amis | AFP | Getty Images
“All state resources are being brought to bear,” Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said in a news conference.
The president earlier in the day approved Kentucky’s state of emergency, adding Saturday afternoon that he’s ready to approve requests for the other states.
In Illinois, at least two people were confirmed dead after an Amazon warehouse collapsed in Edwardsville.
Amazon truck cabs are seen outside a damaged Amazon Distribution Center on December 11, 2021 in Edwardsville, Illinois. According to reports, the Distribution Center was struck by a tornado Friday night.
Michael B. Thomas | Getty Images
Amazon chief Andy Jassy said on Twitter the company is “heartbroken” over the deaths.
“As this situation continues to evolve, I want our Edwardsville community to know we are working closely with local officials & first responders to support them. My deepest sympathies are with the Amazon community and all impacted,” he said.
In Tennessee, the severe weather killed at least three people, a spokesman for the state’s Emergency Management Agency told the Associated Press. Two people were fatally injured in Arkansas, according to The New York Times.
Before and after satellite images showing tornado destruction in Mayfield, Kentucky on Dec. 11th, 2021.
Courtesy: Maxar Technologies
“We’re going to get through this, and we’re going to get through this together,” Biden said. “The federal government is not going to walk away.”
Officials were still assessing the extend of the damage throughout Saturday. Press reports and social media show destroyed buildings and downed trees. According to reports compiled by PowerOutage.us, more than a hundred thousand customers are still without power.
One of the storms ripped through four states, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky, on at least a 220-mile path. The trail puts it among the longest tornadoes in U.S. history if it remained on the ground. The National Weather Service is set to perform an official survey to determine if it was a single, continuous tornado, NBC News reported.