US President Joe Biden has promised to increase federal aid to Kentucky as he surveys destruction in cities ravaged by a massive tornado that killed at least 88 people.
“The scope and scale of this destruction is almost unbelievable,” the 79-year-old president declared after visiting the cities of Mayfield and Dawson Springs.
“These tornadoes ate up everything in their path,” Biden continued in Dawson Springs, western Kentucky. “Their homes, their businesses, their places of worship, their dreams, their lives.”
The president announced that the federal government would pay 100% of emergency aid spending for the next 30 days, and that it would continue to do “everything it needs, as long as it is necessary”.
Biden walked down a rubble road in Mayfield, stopped to chat, and approached a woman sitting among the rubble of a crumbling building.
Dressed in a cap and casuals, the president also attended prayers along with the city’s mayor and others.
Before visiting Mayfield, a city of 10,000, and Dawson Springs, which has a population of 2,500, Biden received a report of damage from last week’s tornadoes, killing at least 74 people in Kentucky and 14 others in neighboring states. were killed.
“There are no red tornadoes, no blue tornadoes,” Biden insisted, referring to the colors that identify the Republican and Democratic parties.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is a Democrat, but residents of the state clearly voted for Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
In addition to federal aid, more than 500 National Guard troops were sent to law enforcement, traffic control and area recovery, as well as volunteers and unions to support the victims.
“means a lot”
“We appreciate the president coming to Mayfield as he surveyed the rubble of the building where his office was located,” Brian Wilson, a lawyer, told AFP. “It means a lot”.
Wilson, who spoke on the noise of construction workers clearing debris, said he explained that he was trying to salvage legal files, customer records, computers or anything else that might help preserve his business. Were.
For him, Biden’s visit is a sign that the people of Washington “care about rural America.” “And, hopefully, it encourages people to stay, rebuild,” he said.
Brad Mills, 63, of Mayfield, sent a message to Biden urging him to expedite federal aid for the disaster.
“Bring the federal help we need,” Mills urged. “As divided as we are on so many issues, we have common ground here.”
As Biden crossed Kentucky, meteorologists warned that parts of the US Midwest were experiencing a “historic weather day” with gusts and tornadoes of up to 100 mph. was likely.
However, Biden spoke very cautiously of the relationship between these tornadoes and climate change, while in September, given the devastation of Storm Ida in New York and New Jersey, he cited “red alert” climate change and its Benefitted. Praise their major investment projects.
Describing last Friday’s storms as “unusual,” the Democratic president declared Monday, “We have to be very careful. We can’t say with absolute certainty that it’s all about climate change.”