Joe Biden declared an emergency in Kentucky to accelerate aid after violent tornadoes left 80 dead.
The measure enables identifying, mobilizing, and providing the necessary equipment and resources to alleviate the most urgent damages and take protective measures.
US President Joe Biden approved this Saturday the declaration of emergency in the state of Kentucky to accelerate federal aid to deal with the damage caused by the storms and tornadoes that have devastated much of this territory.
As reported by the White House in a statement, the president's statement authorizes the Department of the Interior and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all efforts to alleviate the damage caused by this natural catastrophe and implement urgent measures of assistance.
The federal government thus authorizes them to act in the most damaged counties of the state.
Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide the necessary equipment and resources to alleviate the most urgent damages and take protective measures. All of this will be done with funding that will be 75 percent federal.
In another statement, the White House confirmed that Biden has spoken with the governors of Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee, the three most affected states, to express his condolences for the lives lost and the damage caused in their territories.
The president asked the governors to inform him directly of the help they needed.
Dozens of devastating tornadoes ripped through five states in the United States, killing more than 100 people in Kentucky alone, many of the workers at a candle factory, and razing an Amazon warehouse in Illinois.
The western Kentucky city of Mayfield was "ground zero" for the storm, a scene of "massive devastation," a senior local official said early Saturday. Entire blocks of the city were destroyed, with historic homes and buildings vandalized and twisted metal strewn across the streets.
"It's indescribable; the level of devastation is unlike anything I've seen," Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said from Mayfield. "This will be, I think, the deadliest tornado system Kentucky has ever seen."
Beshear said it was clear that the death toll in his state was already "above 70" and could end "exceeding 100 before the day is out."
Referring to a candle factory whose roof collapsed, he said: "We are going to lose many lives in that building. It is a terrible situation".
Reports put the total number of tornadoes in the region at around 30.
At least eight people died in other states hit by the storm, including two in a warehouse in Illinois.
In Arkansas, at least one person was killed when a tornado "practically destroyed" nursing home in the town of Monette, a county official said. Another person died elsewhere in the state.
Several municipalities in Missouri and Tennessee also suffered damage from the tornadoes.
According to local authorities quoted by the media, Three people died in Tennessee. In contrast, another died in Missouri, hit by the most potent tornadoes recorded in years in that state.
Additionally, nearly 400,000 homes have been without power in the eastern United States hit by multiple tornadoes in recent hours. According to the technical page Power outage, the two most affected states are Michigan and Tennessee, with more than 175,000 people without electricity in the first and 144,000 in the second.
In the state of Kentucky, one of the most affected and where the population of Mayfield is located, with most of its buildings practically destroyed by a tornado, there are more than 92,000 people without electricity.
There are also power outages in 75,000 homes in Indiana, 35,000 in Ohio, and 13,000 in Illinois. There was a collapse on Friday night in an Amazon warehouse in the latter state, with at least two deaths.
There are also more than 21,000 people without power in Arkansas. The tornado affected a nursing home and killed one of its residents in this state.
The danger of tornadoes and extreme weather remains this Saturday in the mid-eastern region of the United States. The Storm Prediction Center said Saturday that there is a risk of severe thunderstorms in parts of the Ohio, Tennessee, and southeast valleys through Sunday morning. "The dangers associated with these thunderstorms are frequent lightning, strong wind gusts, hail, and some tornadoes," said the US National Meteorology Center, to which the Storm Prediction Center belongs.