LOUISVILLE, Ky. — “An outpouring of support.”
It was the sentiment shared among Gov. Andy Beshear and national leaders following the weekend tornado outbreak in Central and Western Kentucky.
“We’ve lost far too many of our brothers and sisters,” Beshear said as he began.
More than 40 hours after the outbreak of the severe weather and tornadoes that has damaged 18 counties in the commonwealth, Beshear said he is grateful for the outpouring of love as well as help from first responders along with other cities and states.
The support to help those affected by the tragedy is pouring in. Beshear said more than 18,000 people have donated to the Western Kentucky Tornado Fund, totaling more than $2 million.
Crews are still searching for survivors who were impacted by the Mayfield tornado.
WHAS11 News asked Beshear for clarification on the number of missing – rescued and dead. The governor said it was too difficult to tell and they have been receiving different information but are hopeful that more rescues will be made.
“We’re still finding bodies,” he said. The governor believes at best there will be 50 deaths, but it could go more than 100.
Many residents have also been impacted by the disaster and FEMA said they will be in the area to make sure the right level of assistance will be provided.
“We did have an opportunity to be able to visit a couple of areas that have been impacted,” FEMA administration Deanne Criswell said. “We were able to tour Graves County and Marshall County as well as visit the candle factory.”
Criswell said she along with others have been watching the images through television but said you don’t get to feel the impact until you’re standing there in person.
“You stand in one direction and look and see all of the devastation, and just turn to your right and all of the devastation around you,” she said. “You can’t understand how this has impacted these communities until you’re there.”
Criswell said housing will be a tremendous need going forward and said FEMA will send a housing expert on Monday to begin the strategy of how they are going to be able to help with long-term housing.
It's unclear how many homes were lost during the twister.
Kentucky also asked for a major disaster declaration and FEMA said that would be able to help individuals once the declaration is approved.
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