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FEMA Begins Taking Tornado Damage Claims In Ky. Disaster Areas

From Dan Conti, Kentucky Public RadioOfficials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in northern and eastern Kentucky, conducting damage assessments and helping tornado victims through the process of applying for federal assistance.President Obama has issued a disaster declaration for seven counties, and more areas could be added as assessments continue. "There’s no question about it, the damage is heartbreaking. It’s something that you never get used to. I often get the question, ‘Is this the worst you’ve ever seen?’ My opinion really doesn’t count too much, but the opinion that does count is the people who have been affected. It may be the worst they’ve ever seen," said FEMA spokesman Jim Homstad, who's on the ground in eastern Kentucky. Officials say a 23rd Kentucky storm fatality has been confirmed. The body of an elderly Somerset woman was found this week in a closet at her home. (Photo of tornado damage in East Bernstadt, Kentucky courtesy of Kentucky National Guard)

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.