FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says the state’s death toll has now risen to 77 from the devastating tornadoes that struck the western part of the state one week ago, the night of Friday, Dec. 10 and into the morning of Saturday, Dec. 11.

The governor says the two most recently reported deaths were confirmed with one each in Warren and Lyon counties.

State officials say only one person in the entire state, out of Hopkins County, is still reported missing.

The National Guard’s mission of search-and-rescue/recovery is now shifting to a law enforcement augmentation to prevent looting.

Beshear’s office says more than 1,300 workers are working in the storm-damaged areas of Western Kentucky including:

  • 640 National Guard members
  • More than 600 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employees
  • 100 Kentucky State Police troopers and personnel
  • More than 20 Division of Forestry employees

“As we sit here almost one week to the day after the worst tornado disaster the state has ever seen, we are digging out,” said Gov. Beshear. “Yes, we are down; yes, we are hurting; but we are not defeated and we are not broken. Together, we will dig out; together, we will clean up; and together, we will rebuild both structures and lives.”

The governor’s office also says FEMA will have approximately 700 personnel on the ground this coming week.

Individuals and business owners who experienced losses can apply for assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585, or by downloading the FEMA App.

The state has also started the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund for those impacted. Those who want to donate to that fund can visit TeamWKYReliefFund.ky.gov. The fund has already raised more than $18.39 million since it was created just under a week ago. Beshear says the state will work to make sure these funds are available to support Kentuckians for the long-term recovery from the disaster.

State parks are lodging more than 600 Kentuckians who were displaced by the storms, and the governor says nearly all of them have now reached capacity.

Kentucky First Lady Britainy Beshear’s Western Kentucky Toy Drive to help the families who lost so much in the tornadoes just weeks before Christmas will continue through tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 18. The drive is collecting items for children from infants to teenagers including toys, books, electronics, and $25 VISA or Mastercard gift cards.

All items donated must be unwrapped, but Kentuckians can also donate wrapping materials such as paper and bows along with their items. The first lady says multiple law enforcement agencies are accepting the donations. This toy drive is not accepting clothing items at this time.

For more information on the drive, visit the governor and first lady’s websites.

The Salvation Army is also taking up monetary donations to assist those impacted by the disaster. Beshear also encourages Kentuckians to donate blood to the Red Cross to help the area’s hospitals and medical centers. He donated blood this morning at the American Red Cross “Kentuckians for Kentuckians” blood drive in the rotunda of the State Capitol.