President Biden visiting Kentucky to survey damage, offer federal support

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden is expected to visit Kentucky Wednesday to survey the damage and offer federal support for the victims of quad-city tornadoes that killed dozens and left thousands more in the region without heat, water, or electricity.

At least 88 people died after more than 30 tornadoes tore through Kentucky and four other states over the weekend. In Kentucky, five twisters hit the state, including one with a path of about 200 miles, authorities said.

Biden will visit Fort Campbell for a storm briefing and Mayfield and Dawson Springs to survey storm damage. While Biden is not expected to deliver an address, he is scheduled to meet with storm victims and local officials to provide federal support.

Biden “wants to hear directly from people, and he wants to offer his support directly to them,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Residents at Bowling Green shelter told NewsNation they were “eager to hear good news from the president” as the state is in for a long road to recovery.

Biden’s trip to Kentucky comes at the close of a year marked by a notable uptick in extreme weather occurrences driven primarily by climate change. Only a month after he was sworn into office, Biden went to Houston to survey the damage wrought by last winter’s historic storm there. He ultimately traveled to Idaho, Colorado and California to survey wildfire damage during the summer, as well as Louisiana, New Jersey and New York earlier this fall after Hurricane Ida tore through the region.

The president’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill, signed into law last month, is expected to provide some relief. It includes billions for climate resilience projects aimed to better defend people and property from future storms, wildfires and other natural disasters. His proposed $2 trillion social spending package, still pending in Congress, includes billions more to help shift the nation away from oil, gas and coal and toward widespread clean energy and electric vehicle use.

In addition to the deaths in Kentucky, the tornadoes also killed at least six people in Illinois, where the Amazon distribution center in Edwardsville was hit; four in Tennessee; two in Arkansas, where a nursing home was destroyed and the governor said workers shielded residents with their own bodies; and two in Missouri.

The president signed two federal disaster declarations for Kentucky over the weekend, providing federal aid for search and rescue and cleanup operations, as well as aid for temporary housing and to help individuals and businesses recover.

Biden has vowed that the federal government is committed to providing whatever the affected states need in the aftermath of the storm.

“We’re going to get this done,” Biden said. “We’re going to be there as long as it takes to help.”

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