Kentucky Tornado: Food in some tornado-stricken areas may take months to recover as attention turns to recovery

A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday night in Mayfield, one of the hardest-hit towns in western Kentucky, an area where at least 74 people have lost their lives. Amid prayers and hymns, pastors from churches in the area spoke of those who had been lost and the challenges faced by those who survived.

As of Monday, power was restored for about 10,000 Kentucky customers, according to state emergency management director Michael Dossett, and about 18,500 outages are active.

Those numbers don’t even include Mayfield, a town of 10,000 that he says “doesn’t exist.” Power in the city will take “weeks and months” to rebuild, he said.

At least 14 other people have been killed in Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois and Missouri. More than 60 tornadoes were reported in eight Midwestern and Southern states on Friday evening and Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Several reports may refer to the same tornado, and weather service teams have yet to determine how many tornadoes have hit the area.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said more than 500 members of the National Guard were on the ground to help with tasks including search and mining, clearing roads and controlling traffic.

FEMA’s short-term and long-term recovery teams are located in Kentucky, Dossett said. The agency has started the “blue tarp process” to cover damaged homes and is also in the process of removing debris, he added.

Two FEMA teams will work Wednesday to assess the damage caused by the storm in Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. At least 300 structures were affected by the storms, he said, of which 61 were destroyed.

President Joe Biden is expected to travel to Kentucky on Wednesday to meet with the victims and assess the damage, the White House said.

The president will ensure “that we do everything to bring aid as quickly as possible to the affected areas to support recovery efforts,” press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday. “He wants those on the ground to know the federal government is there to provide them with all the support they need.”

A candlelight vigil was held in Mayfield, Kentucky on Tuesday.

“I was definitely crushed”

Mayfield is the scene of some of the most extensive damage, where more than 100 employees working in a candle factory were caught in the path of a tornado. At least eight people died there when the building was destroyed.

Jim Douglas was in so much pain as he lay crushed under what he believed to be 15 feet of debris that he “prayed that God would take me.” Then rescuers joined him.

“They’re heroes. And not because they saved me, it’s because they saved a lot of people,” Douglas told CNN.

A Kentucky candle factory survivor said a supervisor told him he would be fired if he left before the storm hit.  A spokesperson for the company denied the request

In an interview from his hospital bed, where he is recovering from nerve damage and slowly regaining the use of his arms and legs, Douglas described how an interior wall fell on him, hitting him in the head and causing him to fall. throwing to the ground.

“It was so quick. It was like different layers were falling off and I could feel my body would like more compact,” he said. “I was definitely crushed.”

When rescuers arrived about an hour later, “they couldn’t have done better to extract me,” he said.
Douglas, who has worked at the factory for two and a half years, considered leaving as the storm approached, but decided to go out to the factory after speaking with his family.

He said that once he recovered, he planned to return to work.

“Eventually I’m going to walk and I’m going to work somewhere, I promise you,” Douglas said.

Cleanup efforts in Mayfield, Ky. Continue after deadly storms.

Reported deaths include 2 month old babies

Additional deaths are reported in western Kentucky as a result of the series of storms.

Two-month-old Oaklynn Koon died Monday morning from injuries sustained when a tornado hit her grandmother’s home in Dawson Springs, her paternal grandmother Audrey Carman told CNN.

The child, his two brothers and his parents were taking refuge in his maternal grandmother’s house when the tornado struck.

Koon’s parents tried to protect their children by hiding them in the tub and covering them with sofa cushions, but the tornado swept the house and the family landed on the other side of the neighbor’s house, Carman said.

“We didn’t have a lot of time with her, but we loved the time we spent with her,” Carman told CNN.

Family of five and grandmother confirmed dead in Kentucky tornado

About 70 miles east of Dawson Springs, six family members were killed when a tornado hit their home in Bowling Green, a relative told CNN.

Rachael Brown, 36, and Steven Brown, 35, were with their four children and Rachael’s mother, Victoria Smith, 64, when a tornado hit their home.

The three adults and three of the children – Nariah Cayshelle, 16, Nolynn, 8 and Nyles, 4 – were killed in the tornado, Rachael Brown’s aunt Dornicho Jackson McGee told CNN. The couple’s 13-year-old daughter is still missing.

“They were very family oriented. They loved their family. They loved their children,” McGee said.

The authorities welcome the efforts made to help those in need. The Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund has raised more than $ 9.89 million for Kentuckians, Governor Beshear said on Tuesday. Donations can be made on their website.

CNN’s Brynn Gingras, Sarah Boxer, Caroll Alvarado, Jenn Selva, Tina Burnside, Nikki Carvajal, Amy Simonson and Joseph Bonheim contributed to this report.

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