Beshear says tornado's aftermath 'looks like a bomb had been dropped'

03/03/2012 03:22 PM

After surveying what is left of buildings in Piner and West Liberty, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said those Kentucky communities face a “hard fight to dig out of this.”

Beshear has ordered Kentucky National Guard troops to secure the areas as families try to take stock of what’s left of their homes and businesses. The storm killed at least 18 people in Kentucky, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.

In the southern Kenton County community of Piner, three people were killed and numerous homes were severely damaged. In addition, five people were killed in Laurel County, four in Morgan, two in Lawrence, two in Menifee and two in Johnson.

Beshear said the scene in West Liberty in Eastern Kentucky was startling.

“I started out this morning in the town of West Liberty or what used to be the town of West Liberty,” the governor said. He said it looked “like a bomb was dropped” and “virtually every building was damaged.”

This weekend, emergency management officials were distributing water to families in Piner. And Beshear committed to help them in the coming weeks.

“For those families, it’s going to take a while to get on their feet,” he said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials already are in Kentucky to assess the damage and assist those displaced by Friday’s storms.

Beshear said he expected the costs of the damage to reach the threshold that federal assistance would kick in.

“I don’t think there’s any question that we will get there,” Beshear said.

Republican state Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown represents the southern part of Kenton County. He praised the governor and the National Guard for coordinating the rescue and assistance efforts.


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