UPDATED 10:55 AM PT – Sunday, December 19, 2021
Just days after a tornado devastated Western Kentucky, the governor announced a plan to rebuild the state. On Thursday, Andy Beshear held a press conference to extend help to victims who lost their homes and businesses. He called on businesses across the country to help the area while asking them to open an office or a store to help create employment.
Beshear also encouraged people to apply for disaster unemployment assistance and to visit unemployment insurance locations, which will temporarily replace their wages while they look for work. The governor stressed he wants the counties affected by the tornado to live again and assured businesses need not to get discouraged.
The Kentucky governor got emotional as he talked about the towns that no longer stand. He assured people he will bring life back to the state.
“We are not broken, even when it feels like it. We will clear this chaos and death from our towns and we will rebuild our structures and our lives.”
As Christmas quickly approaches Kentucky, First Lady Britainy Beshear has organized a toy drive to keep the magic in the air for families. She said they received an outpouring amount of support for kids with donations ranging from electronics to gift cards and bikes.
Search teams recovered the body of the last person unaccounted for following the disaster. On Thursday, authorities confirmed the body of 13-year-old Nyssa Brown was located. She was the last of 244 reported missing in Bowling Green.
The teen is at least the city’s 16th confirmed death as a result of the tornado. Six of Brown’s family members were also reportedly killed in the tornado. The statewide death toll currently stands at at least 76, however, search and rescue efforts remain underway.
Meanwhile, parts of Kentucky are still without power. Experts say the electric grid could take months to rebuild. But Beshear added that the “Team Kentucky Relief Fund” has raised nearly $20 million in donations for tornado victims.
The governor also revealed more than 550 National Guardsmen are providing supply distribution, traffic control and law enforcement to reduce the incidents of looting in the region.
Joe Biden made a trip to Kentucky to address his administration’s plans in regards to assisting the six states struck by destructive tornadoes. He gave his remarks on Wednesday, saying the federal government will be providing financial assistance to the states affected by the storms. This came after Biden approved an emergency declaration for Kentucky as well as Illinois and Tennessee.
To the people of Kentucky who have been devastatingly impacted by these tornadoes, know this—I intend to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to help support your state and your local leaders recover and rebuild.pic.twitter.com/YKcUPa74vt
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 16, 2021
Biden noted, he will also direct officials to install COVID-19 booster shot sites in tornado damaged areas. He stressed federal officials will stay as long as it takes.