“You know, the scope and magnitude of this devastation is almost beyond belief.
He later said he was “involved in responding to many disasters” and that survivors expect a moment to breathe.
“You can see it in people’s faces,” he continued, “what they’re really looking for – look around, I tell reporters … you can put your head down on the pillow, close your eyes, take a deep breath, go to sleep and make sure the kids are okay.” That’s what people are looking for right now.
Seventy-one people have been confirmed dead since last week’s hurricane’s eruption in Kentucky, Kentucky Emergency Management spokesman John Bhopal said Wednesday. Michael Dossett, director of Kentucky Emergency Management, said Tuesday that there are still 18,500 power outages.
Late on Monday, Biden approved disaster declarations for Tennessee and Illinois, and before a major disaster declaration for Kentucky. On Wednesday, Biden amended the Kentucky disaster notice and made additional aid available, boosting federal funding.
The president said in a comment to Dawson Springs that he was “certainly not sure” that he had the authority to change the disaster declaration, but that “I do.”
“The government is going to cover 100% of the cost – 100% of all emergency work for the first 30 days,” he continued. That coverage would include extra time for garbage disposal, law enforcement and emergency personnel, and accommodation, Biden said.
At an earlier hurricane conference in Mayfield, Kentucky, the president, along with local leaders, expressed shock at seeing some of the images he saw during his aerial tour.
Biden said he was “surprised” by the way the community had come together in the aftermath of the storm.
“People are coming out of nowhere to help as a community. That’s what it should be. That’s what it should be. It’s not a red hurricane or a blue hurricane. There are no red states or blue states when these things start to happen. Knocks them out, “he said.
The president underlined local leaders that the federal government is there to help with the immediate consequences, but will be more involved in rebuilding efforts.
“I want you to know – I’m always called the governor crazy – but after six weeks, six months there may be things that you may not know are helpful. , “Biden said, then to the board,” Do not hesitate to ask anything.
Biden told the conference he was “here to listen.”
“I think the majority of Americans know what you’re doing by watching TV. It was incredible. Your colleagues are talking about it – they’ve seen it, they say, ‘Holy God, what’s going on?’ ‘The president said.
Air Force One arrived at Fort Campbell in Kentucky on Wednesday morning, where Pittsburgh was welcomed by Democrat Governor Andy Bessier. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Dean Chriswell and other top advisers are on the trip with Biden.
The White House said representatives of the Kentucky Congress, the only Democrat party, had been invited to travel with the president. But Kentucky Republican Representative James Comer, who represents areas devastated by the latest extreme weather, was the only member of Congress listed to travel with the president on Wednesday morning in Air Force One.
Asked if it was difficult for Biden to prepare to visit the Conservative-leaning area, White House spokeswoman Jen Saki said on Tuesday that the president “sees the victims as human beings, not as discriminators.”
“I would not say that it is difficult to prepare, I would say that the President wants to send a clear message and that people in these communities should stand by them as they go through this difficult time,” he said.
FEMA has sent “dozens of generators” to assist rescue efforts in Kentucky, with “135,000 … liters of water, 74,000 meals and thousands of beds.” Federal assistance includes blankets, handkerchiefs and baby kits and “infection shelter kits”.
In addition, the FEMA has set up urban search and rescue teams and assistance teams to help register victims of the storm. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assists in garbage disposal, including infrastructure assessment and power restoration support, Psaki added.
568 National Guard troops are assisting in post-hurricane efforts in Kentucky, 79 search and extraction and death search and rescue, 52 settlement routes in support of the Department of Forests, 748 National Police and Air Defense Forces, 568 National Guards said earlier Tuesday. Law enforcement increase and 111 traffic control points.
Jennifer Henderson of CNN contributed to this report.