Kentucky governor requests major disaster declaration - FEMA chief

Kentucky's governor on Sunday asked the federal government to declare the aftermath of tornadoes that have devastated the state a major federal disaster, the head of US disaster response agency FEMA said.

FEMA chief Deanne Criswell said at a press conference that the state's Democratic Governor Andy Beshear has formally made the request, which if granted would pave the way for additional federal resources to be provided.

Democratic President Joe Biden has already declared the flurry of tornadoes that hit Kentucky on Friday a federal emergency and FEMA is assisting in the aftermath as thousands face housing, food, water and power shortages.

But under an emergency declaration assistance is limited to $5 million, according to the FEMA website.

A major disaster declaration has no such limit and "provides a wide range of federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure, including funds for both emergency and permanent work," FEMA's website says.

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