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Kentucky governor discloses real scale of tornado tragedy

Speaking to CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ on Sunday, Beshear provided an update on the destruction wrought in his state, which was the worst hit of multiple midwest states by the storm. He said the death toll currently stood at 80, but that he expected the number would rise and ultimately be over 100. 

The precise number of houses and businesses destroyed is not yet known, but the governor said thousands of people would likely have been rendered homeless. More than 50,000 are also without power. 

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“We’re gonna have lost thousands of homes, because, when this tornado hit, it didn’t just rip the roof off. I mean, it obliterated houses – just totally gone,” Beshear said. He could not provide an accurate figure for the number of people missing, he said, as reports were still coming in and the authorities were in the process of working through them. 

He added that children would be among the death toll in the state, and pointed to the “largest loss of life” having been in the county seat of Mayfield, which he described as having been “leveled.” Drone footage of the city shows that buildings in the path of the tornado were obliterated. He said first responders were facing real challenges in locating and helping survivors due to the sheer amount of destruction in some towns.

“You think you can go door to door to check on people and see if they’re OK – and there are no doors. The question is, is somebody in the rubble of thousands upon thousands of structures?” he said. “It is devastating.” 

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