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Death toll at 74, likely to climb after deadly US tornadoes

Death toll at 74, likely to climb after deadly US tornadoes
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear calls it ‘miracle’ death toll not higher

By Andy Roesgen

CHICAGO, United States (AA) - The death toll stands at 74 on Tuesday from a wave of tornadoes that hit the US state of Kentucky last week, with 100 people still missing, according to authorities.

At least 14 people were killed in other midwestern states where the line of tornadoes struck.

Among the dead is a 2-month-old girl who was sheltering with her family inside their home in Dawson's Springs, Kentucky.

The family posted to Facebook that they all "went flying" in the tornado and were tossed into a neighbor's house. The girl’s parents posted that she died Monday in a hospital and that their hearts were "absolutely shattered."

The oldest of the victims was north of 90 years old and included relatives of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

Beshear said cadaver dogs are still searching for anyone who may be trapped in the rubble of a candle factory that took a direct hit from the storm in the town of Mayfield.

Eight people died there but given that more than 100 people were inside at the time, Beshear called it a "miracle" that the death toll was not higher.

He also confirmed that the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating conditions at the factory leading up to the storm, an investigation that could take up to six months.

Some employees of the factory told reporters that they were threatened with termination for trying to leave as the tornado approached.

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating the collapse of an Amazon warehouse in the state of Illinois that killed six people.

But employees at the Mayfield Health and Rehabilitation nursing home in Kentucky are calling it a "miracle" that none of its 74 residents were injured after the building collapsed.

Residents had taken part in a tornado drill just hours earlier.

Beshear gave an update on the "Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund," which has received nearly 67,000 donations, totaling almost $10 million that he called "nothing short of extraordinary,"

Kentucky's Emergency Management Director also asked residents of Western Kentucky, where 20,000 customers are still without power, to be patient, noting the difference between a temporary "restoration" of services in the days ahead, and a full "recovery" from the damage, which could take months.

US President Joe Biden will tour the damage in Kentucky on Wednesday in a role presidents often play -- comforting those devastated by natural disasters. Biden noted, however, that he did not want to get in the way of recovery efforts.

source: News Feed
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