Biden’s Dec. 12 declaration makes federal funding available to people affected by the tornadoes and other inclement weather in the counties of Caldwell, Fulton, Graves, Hopkins, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Taylor, and Warren.
Kentuckians approved for relief can get grants for temporary housing and home repairs and loans to cover uninsured property losses, among other programs.
A swarm of tornadoes struck Kentucky, including one that moved for 227 miles, the longest track on record in the history of the United States.
That twister annihilated the entire city of Mayfield and crushed half of Dawson Springs, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” earlier Sunday.
“We’re going to have lost thousands of homes because when this tornado hit, it didn’t rip a roof off. I mean, it obliterated houses—just totally gone,” the governor said. “So, there’s going to be a lot of work and Kentuckians need to know that we’re going to be with them, and the country is going to be with them, not just today and not just this week, but in the months and even the years to come.”
Dozens were confirmed dead in Kentucky, with a total of 14 dead across four other states.
Biden had earlier dubbed the storms a federal emergency. That declaration lets the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) help local authorities with water supply and other issues after a storm hits.
Assistance is capped at $5 million for a single emergency.
Major declarations remove the limit.
They’re declared when the president determines a natural event “has caused damage of such severity that it is beyond the combined capabilities of state and local governments to respond,” FEMA says on its website.
Biden said in a speech from Delaware on Sunday that he’s monitoring the situation closely and had spoken with Beshear, other governors, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“I want to emphasize what I told all the governors: The federal government will do everything it can possibly do to help,” Biden said.
The Democrat said he would declare emergencies for Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, and Missouri if the governors of the states asked and added that he and First Lady Jill Biden are praying for those affected.
“They lost their homes. They lost their businesses. And it’s a tragedy. It’s a tragedy. And we still don’t know how many lives were lost or the full extent of the damage,” he said.