After visiting catastrophic damages from Friday's severe storms and tornadoes, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear spoke with both President Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Saturday.
"The scope and magnitude of devastation in some of our communities is unlike anything I have ever seen," said Gov. Beshear in a news release. "I've been in close contact with President Obama since Thursday to ensure we will have the resources our families will need to recover from these storms."
Gov. Beshear authorized the Kentucky National Guard to deploy to communities as needed to assist with lifesaving efforts, security, and traffic control. So far, more than 220 troops have mobilized to five counties in Kentucky: Johnson, Laurel, Magoffin, Menifee and Morgan Counties.
According to the Commonwealth Joint Information Center, The Kentucky Department of Public Health reports a total of 18 fatalities in the state: Five (5) in Laurel County, 4 in Morgan County, 3 in Kenton County, 2 in Johnson County, 2 in Menifee County and 2 in Lawrence County. Approximately 300 injuries have been reported.
Friends of Families who have been unable to located loved ones are encouraged to register the missing person's information on the Kentucky Emergency management website www.kyem.ky.gov or through the American Red Cross Safe and Well Program at www.americanredcross.org
According to a news release from the Commonwealth Joint Information Center, trained spotters and law enforcement throughout the state reported 13 tornadoes to the Kentucky Emergency Management.
Both Gov. Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson visited storm-stricken areas Saturday morning. Gov. Beshear, along with Sen. Robert Stivers and Sen. Damon Thayer, toured communities in Morgan, Magoffin and Kenton counties. They were joined by Rep. John Will Stacy in West Liberty, Rep. John Short in Salyersville, and Rep. Adam Koenig in Piner.
Lt. Governor Abramson visted East Bernstadt in Laurel County, he was joined by Sen. Tom Jenson.
On Friday, the Governor declared a statewide emergency to allow local officials to immediately access state resources to assist in public safety and recovery efforts. Ten counties have declared states of emergency: Bath, Campbell, Johnson, Kenton, Laurel, Lawrence, Magoffin, Pendleton, Rowan and Trimble as well as the city of Paintsville.
In the wake of the multiple tornadoes and severe storms, Governor Beshear also signed a consumer protection executive order to implement Kentucky's price-gouging laws statewide as of Friday, March 2. The executive order comes at the request of Attorney General Jack Conway and will allow for investigation into any complaints of price gouging that may occur involving gas, building supplies, hotels and other goods and services following the storms.
Anyone with specific information regarding possible price-gouging is encouraged to email email@example.com or to call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 888-432-9257.