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President Biden Approves Emergency Declaration For Southern Illinois After Friday's Tornadoes

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Southern Illinois is getting federal help after last week's devastating tornadoes, as President Joe Biden has approved the state's emergency declaration.

That means the Federal Emergency Management Agency will coordinate all disaster relief efforts, making sure those impacted by the tornadoes have the essentials they need.

One tornado hit the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, near St. Louis. Half of the warehouse was wiped out by the twister.

State and local officials have started investigating whether the facility was structurally sound before the tornado hit.

That's on top of a federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation that was just launched.

Six workers died, and another is still in critical condition.

Carla Pope's son, Clay, was among the workers who died. She said the last time she talked to him, she did what mom's do: told him to be safe.

"We talked to him on the phone, and said 'the storm is heading your way,' and I heard him say, 'I guess we should go tell that guy,'" Carla said. "And I said, 'Let him know, and then get yourself to shelter.' And then we hung up the phone, and that's the last we talked to him."

Amazon said the Edwardsville warehouse was built to code.

Gov. JB Pritzker said, because of climate change and the increasing severity of storms, the state is reviewing building codes to see whether they need to be updated.

At least six tornadoes have been confirmed from Friday night's storms in central and southern Illinois.

Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation for central and southern Illinois on Monday, allowing the state to expedite personnel, resources, and equipment to assist in recovery from the storms.

Counties included in the disaster declaration include: Bond, Cass, Champaign, Coles, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Greene, Grundy, Iroquois, Jackson, Jersey, Kankakee, Lawrence, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Pike, Sangamon, Shelby, Tazewell, and Woodford.

Meantime, Biden also has approved emergency declarations in Kentucky and Tennessee. At least 74 people were killed in Kentucky, in what that state's governor has called the "worst tornado event" in its history. In Tennessee, at least four people were killed when a string of suspected tornadoes barreled through parts of the state.


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