US President Joe Biden talks about the deadly tornadoes that hit Kentucky in Wilmington, Delaware, USA on December 11, 2021.
Kevin Lamarck | Reuters
President Joe Biden said his administration is ready to do “whatever is needed” after dozens of people were killed by a swarm of powerful tornadoes and storms that hit six states since Friday evening.
“The federal government will do everything it can to help,” Biden said during a Saturday news conference in Wilmington, Delaware.
“I promise you that whatever it takes, whatever it takes, the federal government will find a way to provide it,” Biden added.
Irene Noltner consoles Jodie O’Neill at the Lighthouse, a shelter for women and children that was destroyed by a tornado along with much of downtown Mayfield, Kentucky, USA, on December 11, 2021.
Matt Stone | USAToday | Reuters
More than 30 tornadoes hit Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee. Biden said FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is in each of the six states to assess damage.
In Kentucky, at least 70 people have died, and that number could rise to more than 100. Gov. Andy Besheer said he expects the tornado to be the deadliest tornado ever to hit the state. More than 180 National Guard personnel are stationed in areas of Western Kentucky, the hardest-hit part of the state.
A woman walks from a row of ambulances at the 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 deployed,” Kentucky Director of Emergency Management Michael Dossett told a news conference.
Earlier in the day, the president approved a state of emergency in Kentucky, adding that he is ready to approve requests for other states on Saturday afternoon.
In Illinois, it was confirmed that at least two people died after the collapse of an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville.
Amazon truck cabs are visible outside the damaged Amazon distribution center on December 11, 2021 in Edwardsville, Illinois. A tornado reportedly hit the Distribution Center on Friday evening.
Michael B. Thomas | Getty Images
Amazon CEO Andy Yassi said on Twitter that the company was “heartbroken” over the deaths.
“As this situation continues to evolve, I want our Edwardsville community to know that we are working closely with local authorities and first responders to support them. I sincerely sympathize with the Amazon community and everyone else that has an impact, ”he said.
In Tennessee, harsh weather has killed at least three people, a spokesman for the state emergency management agency told the Associated Press. According to The New York Times, two people were fatally injured in Arkansas.
“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 leave.”
During Saturday, officials were still assessing the extent of the damage. Press reports and social media show destroyed buildings and fallen trees. According to reports compiled by PowerOutage.us, more than one hundred thousand customers are still without electricity.
One of the storms tore four states, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky are at least 220 miles away. The trail makes it one of the longest tornadoes in US history if it remained on earth. The National Weather Service is about to conduct a formal survey to determine if it was a single continuous tornado, NBC News reported.