74 deaths, 105 unaccounted for after KY tornadoes

MAYFIELD, Ky. (KBSI) – Seventy-four people have died and 105 people are unaccounted for after devastating tornadoes tore through Mayfield on Friday, Dec. 10.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear gave updates Monday morning and afternoon on the response to the Dec. 11 tornado outbreak that impacted four states.

Key updates from Gov. Beshear:

  • This was the worst tornado event in state history;
  • At least five tornados touched down in Kentucky; one was on the ground for more than 200 miles in this state alone (227 miles);
  • 1,000 homes believed to be damaged or destroyed;
  • In eight counties, lives were lost;
  • In eighteen counties, there was significant damage;
  • Deaths confirmed at this point are in Graves, Hopkins County, Muhlenberg, Warren, Caldwell County, Marshall, Taylor, Fulton and Lyon counties;
  • There are 18 people who died in the storm who are still unidentified;
  • Ages of those lost range from 5 months to 86 years;
  • At least six of those lost were younger than 18;
  • 105 people remain unaccounted for;
  • Mayfield Consumer Products owner says eight employees were killed and eight are still missing. The Governor is hoping for a miracle and is working to confirm this report;
  • Final death and destruction numbers may take a week or more;
  • Sunday, President Joe Biden declared that a major disaster exists in Kentucky and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected;
  • The declaration makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Caldwell, Fulton, Graves, Hopkins, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Taylor and Warren counties;
  • Starting Monday, residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 (for deaf or hard-of-hearing Kentuckians);
    • The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice;
  • At least 300 National Guard members have been deployed to help;
  • Hundreds of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Energy and Environment Cabinet Division of Forestry staff members are clearing debris;
  • Kentucky State Parks in the area are now open to host families who need housing for at least two weeks. Volunteers who are willing to assist state parks staff housing distressed guests should contact Kentucky State Parks Division Director Andy Kasitz at andy.kasitz@ky.gov;
  • The Governor ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Tuesday through next Monday evening in honor of those lost and impacted;
  • The Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund will provide $5,000 to each victim’s family for funeral expenses. There is no need to apply the state will be working to contact families;
  • As of Monday morning (12/13), the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund has received:
    • 30,175 donations
    • $4,009,817.71 fund balance
  • Visit TeamWKYReliefFund.ky.gov to make a donation to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund
  • Both Department for Community Based Services locations in Mayfield/Graves County suffered damage and cannot serve the public at this time. A mobile unit has been requested. Until the mobile unit is ready, those who need help may call 855-306-8959, or they may apply for help online on the kynect site. The URL is kynect.ky.gov. Starting Monday, a special queue is in place for people needing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or SNAP;
  • Walgreens in Mayfield has been the only pharmacy that’s been open and starting Monday. Dec. 13, Walmart Pharmacy plans to open for prescription fulfillment;
  • Around 30,000 homes are still without power;
  • Lake Barkley State Resort Park has 55 rooms available for Kentuckians in need of housing. The park has provided four cabins to house Kentucky National Guard members at the request of Trigg Co. Food arrives Tuesday, Dec. 14 due to power outages impacting refrigeration.
  • Any family members of missing loved ones should report to the office building of His House Ministries to provide a reference standard to law enforcement for identification purposes. His House Ministries is located at 1250 KY-303 in Mayfield. Anyone who needs assistance in getting to His House Ministries can call 859-267-7775.
  • The Kentucky State Police Forensic Laboratory is using Rapid DNA technology to assist in the identification of victims in Friday night’s storms;
  • Rapid DNA has been used throughout the country for this purpose and can provide results in less than two hours. This allows family members to be reunited with the remains of their loved ones as quickly as possible.
  • The Paducah Chamber is joining efforts with local chambers to help in the tornado response/recovery.
  • Business Support
    If you know of a business in an affected area needing assistance, the U.S. Chamber is available to provide support for disaster recovery efforts. Businesses can call 1-888-My-Biz-Help (888-692-4943) for support from disaster recovery experts.
  • Monetary Contributions
    Governor Andy Beshear announced the state has set up a single fund connected with the state where people can give. It is solely dedicated to helping the on-the-ground efforts and the relief efforts needed to rebuild. Go to The Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund at TeamWKYReliefFund.ky.gov.United Way Mayfield: https://www.uwky.org/tornadoMayfield-Graves Co. Tornado Relief Fund, P.O. Box 9 Fancy Farm, KY 42039.

    Kentucky Red Cross Donate online here; Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief; to donate by phone via credit card or to ask questions about donating money to the Red Cross, please call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669).

    Salvation Army is accepting monetary donations at http://give.helpsalvationarmy.org.

    Supply Donations
    The Paducah Police Department is collecting items at the main office at 1400 Broadway during regular business hours. Additionally, many local businesses have also set up collection points and are delivering to affected areas.

    Donations may be taken in Graves County to Mayfield-Graves County Fairgrounds, 1004 KY-121, Mayfield, KY 42066.

    In Marshall County, there is a drop off at Central Elementary School, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on Marshall County, go to the Calvert City website.

    List of Needed Items
    Cleaning supplies, water, flash lights, toiletry items, baby supplies like diapers, formula, baby wash, head lamps, batteries, new socks or undergarments, blankets, coats, non-perishable food, plastic cups/plates, paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, storage containers.

    Volunteers/Shelters
    According to Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan, if you have supplies, equipment or labor, please call the Emergency Operations Hotline at 270-727-5114 for directions.

    The Mayfield Messenger has posted a link for clean-up volunteers to sign up online in the areas in which they are best suited to help. You can find that here.

  • ​​​​​​​​​​Kentucky’s First Lady Britainy Beshear announced the Western Kentucky Toy Drive for those who lost so much in the tornadoes. Donate a toy, book or gift card to bring them some hope and joy during the holidays.
    • Send Mail-In Don​ations t​​o:
      KY Venues
      937 Phillips Lane
      Louisville, KY 40209
    • Drop off location: Paducah​
      Paducah Police Department
      1400 Broadway Paducah, KY 42003
      Drop-Offs accepted 24 hours a day, Tuesday, Dec. 14 – Saturday, Dec. 18

Photos in photo gallery provided by Ohio Valley Aerial

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