UPDATE: Death toll from Ky. tornadoes at 74, but more fatalities are expected
Gov. Andy Beshear said at least 74 deaths have been confirmed in Kentucky as of Monday afternoon in the wake of this weekend’s devastating tornadoes.
The death toll increased by 10 between Beshear’s morning and afternoon news conferences. Those who died in the storm include infants and people as old as 86.
Beshear said he expects the number of victims to increase as search and rescue operations continue. It could take more than a week to get a final total.
“Because we have multiple of our towns in rubble, the numbers are going to move a little bit,” he said. “And we’re going to do the best we can to give you the most accurate information we can.”
At least 100 Kentuckians are still unaccounted for. Residents can report missing loved ones at His House Ministries at 1250 KY-303 in Mayfield, Ky. The phone number is 859-267-7775.
The “Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund” was established on Saturday to support people impacted by the tornadoes. More than $6 million was raised as of Monday afternoon.
Beshear said the families of every person who died will receive $5,000 dollars each for burial expenses.
“No one’s going to have to apply,” he said. “We’re going to work with our vital statistics group for everyone who’s been identified, and we’re going to work to reach out and contact those families directly.”
Beshear ordered flags to fly at half-staff for a week starting Tuesday to honor the lives lost.
Correction: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect address for His House Ministries.