First Lady Britainy Beshear’s Western Kentucky Toy Drive is always on the hunt for $ 25 Visa and Mastercard gift cards, new gifts for older children, new books, and new art supplies. To find a drop-off point, visit FirstLady.ky.gov/ToyDrive.
Gov. Andy Beshear said at least 75 people were killed or died later as a result of tornadoes that ravaged several counties in western Kentucky last week.
Of those, most were killed in the storm. But at least one volunteer helping with debris cleanup in Warren County has died of a heart attack, Beshear told reporters on Thursday.
Beshear made the remarks during a social media briefing. There are still 16 people missing so far, Beshear said, but added: “We don’t know anyone is missing if they have been reported missing.”
Most of Thursday afternoon’s briefing focused on relief efforts. The storm passed through several counties and included the towns and villages of Mayfield, Dawson Springs, Bowling Green and Bremen.
Beshear was in storm-ravaged areas with President Joe Biden on Wednesday.
Beshear said he had also been contacted by federal homeland security officials and FEMA.
The governor said the federal government has provided various forms of assistance to the region.
âThe President of the United States, who has a lot on his plate, came to us – to look us in the eye and tell us, not only was he going to be here for years to comeâ¦ but that he cared. us, âBeshear said. âWe appreciate his presence here. He showed a level of dedication; it showed a level of care for us.
Beshear said the federal government had granted its request to cover 100% of a portion of disaster response for state and local governments for 30 days. The federal government will cover the cost of debris removal, emergency protection measures, emergency work and repair of damaged facilities.
âIt’s going to be a huge amount of money and it’s going to free us up more dollars for the months and years to come,â Beshear said.
âThe federal government has done absolutely everything we asked it to do,â Beshear said.
FEMA has more than 400 people in Kentucky working on the response, Beshear said.
The agency “is already processing claims” and sending out payments, Beshear said. FEMA also provided emergency supplies to the state.
About 600 members of the National Guard are deployed, with the mission moving towards assisting law enforcement and preventing looting, Beshear said.
Meanwhile, Kentucky State Police have around 100 troops involved in the response, Beshear said.
Aid to residents takes different forms. FEMA has people on the ground in affected areas taking complaints, while it has also set up complaints centers. Beshear said state unemployment officials will also take care of claims from those unemployed due to damage to businesses.
In Muhlenberg County, unemployment claims are lodged at the Bremen Park Community Center, 47 College St. in Bremen.
Replacement fees for driver’s licenses and other state certifications have been eliminated. State parks with cabins were made available to shelter those displaced by the storm. The federal disaster declaration also makes residents of affected counties eligible for sales tax refunds on construction and repair materials, up to $ 6,000 per building.
Beshear said $ 15.9 million was raised through Team Western Kentucky Tornado’s relief fund. Meanwhile, the state’s Western Kentucky Toy Drive collected 70,000 new toys and items for children affected by the storm.
“It’s amazing how people have responded to this call,” First Lady Britainy Beshear said of the toy drive. âThese kids and families deserve it, and it’s so heartwarming.
The companies asked how they could help, said Andy Beshear.
He said the best way for destroyed businesses in affected areas was to rebuild there.
“We hope the jobs will come back,” the governor said.
Beshear said relief efforts will take time.
âWe are still in pain and it continues to be very painful,â Beshear said. âBut we’re not broken, even when we feel like it.
âWe are going to rebuild each of these communities,â Beshear said.