Kentucky Floods Kill At Least 28 – ‘It’s All Gone’

July 31 (Reuters) – Flooding triggered by torrential rains in eastern Kentucky has killed at least 28 people, including four children, Governor Andy Beshear said on Sunday as authorities scrambled to provide food and shelter to thousands of displaced residents.

Some homes in the hardest-hit areas were swept away after days of heavy rains that Beshear described as some of the worst in US state history. Rescue teams guided motorboats through residential and commercial areas in search of victims.

“It’s all gone. Like, it’s all gone. The whole office is gone,” one of the flood victims, Rachel Patton, told WCHS TV. Around her, houses were half submerged in water.

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“We had to swim, and it was cold. It was over my head, so yeah. It was scary.”

Officials warn the death toll could continue to rise as expected rainfall could hamper rescue efforts. The National Weather Service is forecasting multiple rounds of showers and storms through Tuesday, with a flood watch in effect through Monday morning in southern and eastern Kentucky.

“We are still focused on meeting immediate needs by providing food, water and shelter to thousands of our fellow Kentucky residents who have been displaced by this catastrophic flooding,” Beshear said in a statement.

Beshear, who declared a state of emergency following the flooding, earlier told NBC that authorities “will be finding bodies for weeks” as rescuers fan out to more remote areas.

The floods were the second major national disaster to hit Kentucky in seven months, following a tornado swarm that killed nearly 80 people in the western part of the state in December. Read more

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Kentucky on Friday, allowing the allocation of federal funds to the state. Beshear’s office said affected residents could begin applying for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Power lines were extensively damaged, with more than 14,000 reports of outages as of Sunday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.US.

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Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Rami Ayyub in Washington; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Lisa Shumaker and Sandra Maler

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