WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden offered his condolences to victims of the deadly storms that ripped through several states late Friday and early Saturday morning and promised that the federal government would provide whatever resources are needed to help in their recovery
“We’re going to get through this together,” Biden said in remarks from Wilmington, Delaware. “The federal government is not going to walk away. This is one of those times when we aren’t Democrats or Republicans. We’re all Americans.”
Biden said he continues to monitor recovery efforts and plans to travel to the heavily damaged areas but will wait until he’s certain his visit would not impede those efforts.
“I don’t want to be in the way,” he said.
Dozens are feared dead after tornadoes and severe storms ravaged homes, a factory, a nursing home and entire towns in multiple states, including Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee and Arkansas.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he expected more than 70 deaths amid a path of destruction throughout western Kentucky in what he called the deadliest tornado event in state history. He said the tornado touched down for 227 miles, most of them in his state.
“My heart aches for those people right now, including the rescuers,” Biden said.
‘Completely devastated’:A small Kentucky town left mourning, in ruins after historic tornado
The White House said Biden spoke on Saturday with Beshear and the governors of Arkansas, Illinois, Tennessee and Missouri and asked each what resources they needed. Biden also issued an emergency declaration for Kentucky, which he said would accelerate the availability of federal resources to the Bluegrass State.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency already has deployed emergency response personnel to the affected states to assess damage and assist in search and rescue efforts. Biden said he also has instructed FEMA to offer additional federal resources, including temporary housing in cases where homes have been destroyed or are too badly damaged to live in.
“Jill and I pray, and I sincerely mean this, for those who have lost loved ones and for those who are uncertain of the fate of their loved ones,” Biden said. “It’s a tragedy.”
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
Contributing: Nada Hassanein, John T. Martin and Joe Sonka