Western KY still recovering after devastating 2021 tornado

(NewsNation) — Western Kentucky is still recovering after a devastating tornado ripped through the state 15 months ago.

Residents impacted by the tornado told NewsNation they feel forgotten.

In Mayfield, Kentucky, the old police department is now boarded up, many homes are abandoned and there are no working traffic lights.

Nothing remains where the courthouse once stood, the mayor and other city officials forced to work out of a strip mall as they wait for help to rebuild.

Local pastor Marcus McClure has been helping with recovery efforts since the first day. His church passing out nearly 50,000 meals to the local community.

“It’s been hard to navigate, been challenging, and we let people know that we’re still here. And there’s still things that need to be done. It’s a year later and it’s not on the media like it was before, but we’re here, we still need help,” said McClure.

Last year, at least 17 people died and hundreds more were displaced after the record breaking weather event. Many were left desperate for assistance after the tornado destroyed homes in communities around western Kentucky.

Now, the National Weather Service reports more than 4,000 structures were impacted, including nearly 3,800 homes in Mayfield alone.

Mayfield residents told NewsNation that the money promised from federal and local governments has been slow to arrive, with some using up their savings just to get by.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear set up the Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund last December, sending $1,000 checks to those impacted by the tornado. The fund is now under investigation after 184 of the checks were canceled and some others were sent to people not impacted by the storms.

A memorial in downtown Mayfield pays tribute to the people who lost their lives in the tornado, the bottom of the plaque reading, “We honor those who died due to the violent December 2021 tornado and we also celebrate the spirits of the community that is rebuilding.”


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