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Biden to visit Kentucky on Wednesday as governor says tornadoes killed 64 people

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People embrace as tornado damage is seen after extreme weather hit the region December 12, 2021, in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday that more than 60 people were confirmed dead in the state and that he did not yet know the cost assessments for the damage after tornadoes swept through Kentucky over the weekend.

“I don’t have yet an estimate on damages, but it’s in the hundreds of millions of dollars at least,” Beshear told CNBC during a storm update on Monday.

“Again, whatever the cost. I know our federal partners are there with us. We will spare no expense by the state,” he said.

On Sunday, President Joe Biden declared a major federal disaster in Kentucky, paving the way for federal aid. The president is expected to visit Kentucky on Wednesday.

Beshear also said that leaders from multiple corporations, including Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, have reached out to him throughout the weekend asking for ways to contribute. A tornado hit an Amazon distribution center in Edwardsville, Illinois, about 200 miles north of some of the hardest-hit areas of Kentucky, killing six people. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is opening an investigation into the collapse and worker deaths, according to a spokesperson.

Jassy previously tweeted that the company was offering its support in Illinois. Amazon didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Late Friday evening at least 30 tornadoes left a path of destruction across several states, hitting Kentucky the hardest. One twister ripped through four states carving out at least a 200-mile path, which would rank it among the longest tornadoes in U.S. history.

Kentucky officials described the storm as the “largest and most devastating in Kentucky’s history” and that it would take years to rebuild communities.

Mike Castle hugs his daughter Nikki Castle after locating the father-daughter necklace he meant to gift to Nikki for Christmas, after the tornado in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, U.S. December 11, 2021.

Minh Connors | USAToday Network | via Reuters

As of Monday morning, Beshear, a Democrat, said there were 64 confirmed deaths in Kentucky and added that 105 people are still unaccounted for. Approximately 300 National Guardsmen are assisting with rescue operations and debris removal.

More than 28,500 homes in Kentucky are still without power.

“I’m not doing so well today and I’m not sure how many of us are,” Beshear said. “We’re gonna keep putting one foot in front of the other and we are going to push through this.”

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