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Biden to travel to Kentucky after tornadoes that left dozens dead

The president approved a major disaster declaration for the state, and the federal government is providing aid to at least eight counties.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Monday that he plans to travel to Kentucky this week to survey the damage from the tornadoes that tore through the state over the weekend, killing dozens of people, destroying entire towns and leaving thousands of customers without power.

Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday afternoon that 74 people ages 5 months to 86 were confirmed dead and that more than 100 more were unaccounted for. Beshear, who said he also lost loved ones, said it was the deadliest storm the state had ever seen.

The unseasonal storms ripped through several states across the Midwest and the South overnight Friday, leveling a candle factory and entire communities in Kentucky and hitting a nursing home in Arkansas and an Amazon distribution center in Illinois.

Biden approved a major disaster declaration for Kentucky on Sunday, and the federal government is providing aid to at least eight counties.

Thousands of customers in the region have been left without power, and family members trying to check in on loved ones are struggling with spotty cell service in the area.

While Kentucky, where Biden is expected to travel Wednesday, was the hardest-hit state, several people were also killed in Illinois, Tennessee and Arkansas. At least six people were confirmed dead after an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, was destroyed.

Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the storms before she made prepared remarks Monday about electric vehicles.

"We are committed, the president and I and our administration, to helping you and helping to heal the wounds, which will probably be long-lasting," Harris said. "We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation closely.”