26 killed and more missing in Kentucky floods

HINDMAN, Ky. – The death toll from heavy flooding in Kentucky rose to 26 on Sunday with several dozen people missing amid the threat of more heavy rain.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the death toll from last week’s tornado had risen by one since Saturday.

Beshear said the numbers were likely to rise significantly and that it could take weeks to find all the victims. At least 37 people were unaccounted for, according to a daily briefing by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

On top of that, more flash floods are likely in parts of Appalachia on Sunday and Monday, as the latest storms arrive, the National Weather Service said. Rainfall of 1 to 2 inches per hour was possible in some similar areas that were submerged last week.

According to FEMA, a dozen shelters were open for flood victims with 388 people in Kentucky on Sunday.

At a news conference in Nott County, Beshear praised the rapid arrival of FEMA trailers, but noted several challenges in recovery, including the risk of excess rain and flooding, and damage to critical infrastructure.

“We have dozens of bridges that are out – it is getting difficult for people to reach, which has made it difficult to supply water to people,” he said. “We have a whole water system that we’re working hard to get up to.”

Beshear said it will be difficult, even a week from now, that “there are a tangible number of people who are to blame. It’s communication issues—not necessarily even some of these.” In the areas, how many people were living in the first place.

The governor also talked about the selflessness seen among flood-stricken Kentucky residents.

“Many people who have lost everything but can’t even find stuff for themselves are getting them for other people in their neighborhood, making sure their neighbors are okay,” Beshear said. .

Amid survival stories, a 17-year-old girl, whose home in Whitesburg was flooded Thursday, put her dog in a plastic container and swam 70 yards to a neighbor’s roof to escape safely. Chloe Adams waited until daylight in a kayak before a relative arrived and was escorted to safety, first carrying her dog, Sandy, and then the teenager.

“My daughter is safe and up all night tonight,” her father, Terry Adams, said in a Facebook post. “We lost everything today… except everything that matters most.”

One cold morning in the town of Hindman, about 200 miles southeast of Louisville, a crew cleaned up rubble piled up along a storefront. Nearby, a vehicle was parked upside down in Troublesome Creek, which is now back within its rubble-filled shores.

The workers labored non-stop on the paved earthen pavements and roads.

Tom Jackson, one of the workers, said, “We’ll be here until there’s a deluge.”

Jackson was with a crew from Corbin, Kentucky, where he is the city’s recycling director, about a two-hour drive from Hindman.

His crew worked all day on Saturday, and the mud and debris was so thick that they managed to clear one-eighth of the road. The water had flowed down the hills and was so forceful that it rattled the road signs.

“I’ve never seen water like this,” Jackson said.

Attendance for the Sunday morning service at Hindman’s First Baptist Church was low. Parishioners who rarely miss a service come back home to clean up caused by floodwaters and mud.

“We already have all kinds of people telling us they can’t even be here today because of their condition,” said Rev. Mike Caudill.

His church has helped the Riling community, setting up tents to serve food and supply cleaning and personal hygiene to the people.

In Nott County, where it was raining intermittently on Sunday, totes filled with clothes and photographs were stacked on the front porch of retired teacher Teresa Perry Reynolds, with furniture badly damaged.

“There are memories there,” she said of the family photos she and her husband found.

She and her husband, a retired school administrator, may have taken refuge in their 44-foot travel trailer, but it was washed away by floodwaters. After searching for a day and a half, they found her husband’s purse. On Thursday, when he went to the neighbor’s house after escaping from the rapidly rising water, he was left behind.

“All I know is that I am homeless and that I have people taking care of me,” she said.

Parts of eastern Kentucky received rain early Friday after receiving between 8 and 10 1/2 inches of rain in 48 hours. poweroutage.us reported that about 13,000 utility customers in Kentucky were without power on Sunday.

President Joe Biden declared a federal disaster to send relief money to more than a dozen Kentucky counties.

Last week’s flooding extended to West Virginia, where Governor Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for six southern counties, and in Virginia, where Governor Glenn Youngkin also declared an emergency, prompting officials in the southwest portion of the floodplain. Enabled to mobilize resources. State.

Rabie reported from Charleston, West Virginia. Associated Press writer Kevin McGill in New Orleans contributed to this report.

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