More than 1,300 have been rescued from flooding, governor says

Published 11:16 am Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday morning that 37 people are now confirmed dead from the devastating flooding in eastern Kentucky, and that the number of fatalities will continue to rise as more areas become accessible to search and rescue crews.

During a Capitol press conference held before he headed back to the flood-ravaged areas to three counties he was unable to reach over the weekend due to the weather, he said getting an accurate figure on the number of people still missing as well as the dead is not possible, although rescue crews are still searching.

“They’re going down the path of the water,” he told reporters. “Those won’t be all the people lost, but they are going down the path of water, people looking for folks and with dogs, and ultimately we’re still finding them.”

Beshear said the number of people rescued continues to increase. “It’s hard to count, but definitely over 1,300. One person was rescued yesterday by Fish and Wildlife, so this is still an active situation where some people are still cut-off.”

In addition to Fish and Wildlife, he says other agencies who have performed rescues by water and from the air include the Kentucky National Guard, Tennessee National Guard, West Virginia National Guard, Kentucky State Police (who have also performed more than 1,000 wellness checks), and more.

Of those who lost their homes, the governor said 191 are being housed at Kentucky State Resort Parks rooms, cottages and campgrounds.  Some of the travel trailers used to temporarily house victims from last December’s tornado outbreak in western Kentucky have been brought east and are being hooked up for use by flood victims.

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief and DR teams from Tennessee, Alabama and other states are setting up operations to feed and begin damage assessment. Send Relief also has boots on the ground with feeding units, cleaning supplies, and cases of bottled water.

There is a website that has information on a variety of topics, including how to have State Police help track down a missing loved one, shelters, cooling centers for those without power, FEMA mobile registration centers and much more.  Go to https://governor.ky.gov/flood-resources.        

You can also make monetary donations for flood victim relief, as the governor has set up a web page like the one established following the tornados.  The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund is at https://teamekyfloodrelieffund.ky.gov.

“As of Tuesday morning there have been 17,925 contributions,” he said, “for a little over $2.3 million.  This is a fully transparent fund with legislative oversight.  Every dollar will go to help people impacted in the area.”

Thirteen counties are in the Presidential major disaster declaration issued last week, which triggers federal assistance to state and local governments, but only five are included for individual assistance through FEMA.  Beshear says he expects more counties to be added to that list soon.