President Joe Biden traveled to western Kentucky on Wednesday to view damage left by a series of tornadoes late last week that have killed dozens of people in the state and surrounding areas and left thousands without homes.
"The scope and scale of this destruction is beyond belief," Biden said in Dawson Springs.
The severe storms, which blew through the region on Friday evening and Saturday morning, are confirmed to have killed at least 88 people. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says 74 of those fatalities occurred in his state, with victims ranging from 2 months to 98 years old.
Officials fear the death toll will continue to rise as rescue and recovery efforts continue.
The storms leveled entire communities and neighbors, with Beshear estimating that 1,000 homes in Kentucky were destroyed. Hundreds of people affected by the storms are currently seeking refuge in temporary housing in state parks.
During his visit Wednesday, Biden first traveled to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, located in the western part of the state near the Tennessee border. There, he was briefed on recovery efforts by local officials.
After the briefing, Biden made the 100-mile trek west to the town of Mayfield, which saw some of the most severe effects of the storm.
Mayfield is home to a candle factory that collapsed after being hit by a tornado, killing at least eight people. Some workers at that factory have alleged that management threatened to fire them if they left their posts to take shelter.
Biden said the federal government will do everything it can to help the communities rebuild.
"You're going to heal, we're going to recover, we're going to rebuild and you're going to be stronger than you were before," Biden said. "We're going to build back better than it was."