The Kentucky Tornado Disaster

Josie Pappone

Recently, several tornadoes have swept across states including Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. All these states and many more faced harsh winds capable of lots of damage, but none have felt the impact as much as Kentucky. It is estimated that around 30 tornadoes swept through the south last Friday, 4 bound for Kentucky. Numerous Kentucky homes and businesses were reduced to rubble after the devastating wind storms. As included in an article by CNN, 75% of one unfortunate Kentucky town, Dawson Springs, was wiped out. Unlucky residents are left with nothing but the clothes on their backs amidst the heaps of devastation left by the tornado. As of right now, the death toll caused by these tornadoes is 88, and that number is increasing as more discoveries are made. The initial reaction of HHS students is one of shock and devastation, as summed up by junior Abby Brown, “It’s really devastating and I hope that people come together and help those in need.”

Among the dozens of saddening stories that emerged as a result of the tornadoes, one sticks out. A mother by the name of Breeana Gilson spent the duration of the storms in the innermost part of her house trying to protect her sleeping children. Suddenly, she felt the mattress in which she and her two children were seated on lift from the ground. As she recounts in an interview by CNN, “And then, after that, in a millisecond, we were no longer in the bed or in our house. We were on the ground all the way up there somewhere.” As included by HHS junior Grace Desai, “When I first heard this story, I was literally shocked. It’s crazy to think that these storms can happen so close by, and it’s a miracle that the woman and her children are ok.” Fortunately, despite the destruction of her house, Breeana escaped with only a broken arm whilst her children were unharmed.

As of right now, the survivors are being overwhelmed with aid from all around the country. The Team Western Kentucky Relief Fund was created to raise awareness for those suffering and to accumulate enough money to rebuild the once thriving towns and cities that were destroyed. Additionally, the governor of Kentucky has offered to pay for the burial ceremonies of all those who lost their lives, and the American Red Cross has set up shelters for the survivors to reside in, if needed. After President Biden classified these tornadoes as a major disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has allowed for those left homeless or with home damage to put grants and low-cost loans forward in an effort to rebuild their homes. Although the country is still suffering majorly through the effects of these tornadoes, it is on track to getting back in order.