Governor Andy Beshear (D-KY) said on Sunday that his state’s death toll from recent flooding has reached 26 and is expected to increase.
Beshear shared the update during an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”
“Our death toll right now is at 26, but I know of several additional bodies, and we know it’s going to grow. With the level of water, we’re going to be finding bodies for weeks, many of them swept hundreds of yards, maybe a quarter mile plus from where they were lost,” Beshear said.
Four of the reported deaths were of children, the governor added.
“It’s tough. This is one of the most devastating, deadly floods that we have seen in our history. It wiped out areas where people didn’t have that much to begin with,” he added.
Yesterday our first travel trailers arrived and we are working fast to establish additional shelter options.
Let us wrap our arms around Eastern Kentucky and pray for those impacted. 2/3
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) July 31, 2022
On Saturday, Beshear provided an update regarding rescue and recovery efforts in the areas devastated by historic flooding.
“We continue to pray for the families who have suffered unfathomable loss,” the governor said. “We also pray for the first responders. This mission has been especially challenging, and what they are experiencing firsthand is tremendously stressful and difficult. We thank all those involved for their tireless efforts.”
As of a Saturday, 1,432 people had been rescued. First responders included emergency workers from Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
The largest number of rescues have involved the Kentucky State Police. As of Saturday, law enforcement officers have assisted with at least 624 water rescues.
“We are so grateful to all those responders, and a special thank you to the Governors and the Guard of Tennessee and West Virginia,” Beshear said regarding first responders.
Saturday, President Joe Biden signed the Individual Assistance to the Major Disaster Declaration he approved for the people of Eastern Kentucky impacted by recent flooding.
The Daily Wire previously reported that multiple counties in Kentucky across the Appalachia region had endured torrential rains since early Thursday morning. As a result, floodwaters completely swallowed up portions of the Kentucky River, sending residents searching for high ground until rescue teams could arrive.
National Weather Service reported that approximately six inches of rain had fallen in some areas, making it impossible to pass through many roads.
More than 23,000 people lost power from the storms. The governor’s report stated that more than 18,000 people remained without power as of Saturday.
A total of 142 people are temporarily staying at state parks, with nearly all being housed at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. Others are being sheltered at Paintsville State Park Campground.
A State of Emergency has been declared and many roads and bridges remain closed across the flooded parts of Kentucky.
According to the state’s report, donations are encouraged to Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund, with the first funds going to pay for each victim’s funeral.