A trail of devastation followed tornadoes across the Midwest this week.
President Joe Biden confirmed that he would travel this week to Kentucky, which bore the brunt of the natural disaster with at least 74 deaths confirmed thus far.
“Still hoping as we move forward for some miracles”
Biden is expected to visit Dawson Springs and Mayfield on Wednesday. These towns were among the hardest hit. Eight workers in Mayfield were killed when the tornado hit a candle factory occupied by more than 100 people.
Six more people died at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois. Another four died in Tennessee while Missouri and Arkansas recorded two deaths each.
More than 100 people remained missing in Kentucky as of the most recent updates available and Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear indicated on Monday that the state’s overall death toll is likely to rise past 100.
“We’re still hoping as we move forward for some miracles to find more people,” he said.
“I was very glad to be with my wife”
Beshear went on to confirm that he was grateful for the Biden administration’s assistance.
“President Biden called me three times on Saturday and has moved faster than we’ve ever seen on getting us the aid we need,” the governor said. “We will welcome him here, we will thank him for his help and sadly, we’ll show him the worst tornado damage imaginable, certainly the worst in our history.”
The president has also faced some backlash from critics who took exception to his efforts to inexorably link the tragedy to climate change.
“The fact is that we all know everything is more intense when the climate is warming,” Biden said. “Everything. And obviously it has some impact here, but I can’t give you a quantitative read on that.”
Of course, the climate debate is an abstract concept that likely has little impact on the families grieving a sudden death or the loss of a home. One pastor recalled hiding with his wife in a church closet, explaining: “I realized it might be my last few moments of my life on this earth and I was very glad to be with my wife.”