Assessing the Damage in Kentucky and What You Can Do to Help Tornado Victims

Mayfield, KY – During the difficult times Kentucky suffered in the last weeks, Jim Finch was a light of hope as he drove to Mayfield, Kentucky to feed as many people as he could with his grill. A video on Twitter has been circulating where Mr. Finch shares, “I know they don’t have no electricity, so that means they don’t have no electricity, no restaurants, no running water, so I just figured I’d do what I can do, so I showed up with some food and some water.”

Earlier this month, tornadoes ripped through Kentucky and several other states, and left communities across western Kentucky completely devastated. After the second week of recovery efforts, the picture of the damage is becoming clearer. More than 1,000 properties were destroyed. 

According to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, the death toll is now at 76 people, with more than 100 are still missing. Mayfield, Kentucky, was one of the most affected cities. The Mayfield tornado has been designated a EF4  – the second-to-worst category – with winds of over 190 mph, according to the NWS.

In the city of Mayfield, at least eight people were confirmed dead after the roof of a candle factory collapsed. Over 100 people were working inside the factory on December 10th despite the warnings about extreme weather. “Corporations will literally let you die to make a buck. Never forget that,” Robert Reich addressed on Twitter, and opened a polemic conversation. 

President Biden visited Kentucky last week to speak to local leaders and residents and share a word of hope as he promised to help rebuild the state after the tornadoes. After the helicopter tour over Mayfield, the president gave a speech about the disaster. He shared, “either brings people together or it knocks them apart, there’s no red tornadoes and blue tornadoes.”

Mayfield is still accepting generators, extension cords and new, unused gas and diesel containers, among food and water supplies. Gov. Beshear has established a fund to assist tornado victims and begin rebuilding. Everyone is welcome to donate from home to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, donations start from $5, or by check to the Public Protection Cabinet, 500 Mero St., 218 NC, Frankfort, KY 40601.

Other donation centers

American Red Cross

Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999.

Aspire Appalachia 

Send donations to [email protected] or PO Box 1255, Jackson, KY 41339.

Kentucky Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters 

Visit kentuckyvoad.org/.

​​United Way of Kentucky 

The agency has set up a donation site specifically for tornado victims. Visit uwky.org/tornado.

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