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Gov. Beshear Provides Update on Storm Response


Monday morning, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on his administration’s response to the Dec. 11 quad-state tornado outbreak.

The Governor provided key updates:

•This was the worst tornado event in state history;

•At least four tornados touched down in Kentucky; one was on the ground for more than 200 miles in this state alone;

•We believe a 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed;

•In eight counties, lives were lost;

•In eighteen counties, there was significant damage;

•There are 64 confirmed deaths at this point: 20 in Graves County, 13 in Hopkins County, 11 in Muhlenberg County; 12 in Warren County; four in Caldwell County; one each in Marshall, Taylor, Fulton and Lyon counties;

•There are 18 people who died in the storm who are still unidentified;

•Ages of those lost range from 5 months to 86 years;

•At least six of those lost were younger than 18;

•105 people remain unaccounted for;

•Mayfield Consumer Products owner says eight employees were killed and eight are still missing. The Governor is hoping for a miracle and is working to confirm this report;

•Final death and destruction numbers may take a week or more;

•Yesterday, President Joe Biden declared that a major disaster exists in Kentucky and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected;

•The declaration makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Caldwell, Fulton, Graves, Hopkins, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Taylor and Warren counties;

•Starting today, residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 (for deaf or hard-of-hearing Kentuckians); The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice;

•At least 300 National Guard members have been deployed to help;

•Hundreds of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Energy and Environment Cabinet Division of Forestry staff members are clearing debris;

•Kentucky State Parks in the area are now open to host families who need housing for at least two weeks. Volunteers who are willing to assist state parks staff housing distressed guests should contact Kentucky State Parks Division Director Andy Kasitz at andy.kasitz@ky.gov;

•The Governor ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Tuesday through next Monday evening in honor of those lost and impacted;

•The Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund will provide $5,000 to each victim’s family for funeral expenses. There is no need to apply the state will be working to contact families;

•Both Department for Community Based Services locations in Mayfield/Graves County suffered damage and cannot serve the public at this time. A mobile unit has been requested. Until the mobile unit is ready, those who need help may call 855-306-8959, or they may apply for help online on the kynect site. The URL is http://kynect.ky.gov

Starting today, a special queue is in place for people needing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or SNAP;

•Walgreens in Mayfield has been the only pharmacy that’s been open and starting today, Walmart Pharmacy plans to open for prescription fulfillment;

•Around 30,000 homes are still without power;

•Any family members of missing loved ones should report to the office building of His House Ministries to provide a reference standard to law enforcement for identification purposes. His House Ministries is located at 1250 KY-303 in Mayfield. Anyone who needs assistance in getting to His House Ministries can call 859-267-7775.

•The Kentucky State Police Forensic Laboratory is using Rapid DNA technology to assist in the identification of victims in Friday night’s storms;

•Rapid DNA has been used throughout the country for this purpose and can provide results in less than two hours. This allows family members to be reunited with the remains of their loved ones as quickly as possible.

As of this morning, the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund has received 30,175 donations with a fund balance of $4,009,817.71.

Visit http://TeamWKYReliefFund.ky.gov

(provided by the Office of Gov. Andy Beshear)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."