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Deadly tornadoes slam through six states

Deadly tornadoes slam through six states
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Sunday, 12 December, 2021, 21:15

Earlier Saturday, President Joe Biden told reporters traveling with him in Wilmington, Delaware he'd been monitoring the situation "very closely since early this morning," after what he called one of the “largest tornado outbreaks in our history” left at least 84 dead across six states.

Here's a breakdown of some of the key points Biden touched on:

Federal government response

“Earlier today I called the governors of the states that have been experiencing severe impacts of the storms including Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, as well as Tennessee and also spoke with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell,” Biden said.

“I want to emphasize what I told all the governors, the federal government will do everything, everything you can possibly do to help,” said Biden.
"I also approved the emergency declaration that was requested a couple of hours ago by Governor Beshear of Kentucky. That’s going to accelerate federal emergency assistance for Kentucky right now, when it’s urgently needed. And I stand ready to do the same for the governors of the other states -- and I’ve made it clear to them -- if they request emergency declaration," continued Biden.

"I’ve also requested that FEMA offer additional federal resources, including help with temporary housing, where homes have been wiped out or too badly damaged to live in," he added.

Survey the damage

Biden told reporters he does plan on traveling to the region to survey storm damage when circumstances allow, adding that he started off this morning speaking with the governor of Kentucky.

“I said I'll be happy to come, but I don't want to be in the way,” Biden said. "We're not going to get in the way of the rescue and recovery, but I do plan on going," he added.

"My heart aches for those people right now, including the rescuers, including the burden on them and what they worry about,” Biden said.
Climate change

Biden acknowledged the role climate change may have played in the severity of Friday’s storms.

“All that I know is that the intensity of the weather across the board has some impacts as a consequence of the warming of the planet," he told reporters.

He said he would be tasking the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies to take a look at the specific impact climate change had on Friday's deadly tornadoes.

“But the fact is that we all know everything is more intense when the climate is warming everything, and obviously it has some impact here, but I can't give you a quantitative read on that,” Biden said.
The National Guard

Biden also said he’d deploy the National Guard if the states conclude they need it.

“The National Guard has been called down to one state, but whatever is needed, it's within the authority of the President of the United States and the federal government to provide that help, and we're going to provide whatever is needed,” said Biden.

“I think we've demonstrated since we've been elected that every major national disaster we had been there early, often and stayed till we got it finished,” said Biden, citing federal responses to flooding in the wake of Hurricane Ida, California wildfires, and a building collapse in Surfside, Florida.