Catastrophic Flooding in Kentucky

Record flooding in eastern Kentucky
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There has been a lot of “weather” happening in the United States this summer. Record heat in many parts of the country, bad drought in Texas, flooding in Las Vegas and now catastrophic flooding in Kentucky, with many lives lost.

The death toll in flood-stricken Kentucky has risen to 35, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday afternoon. Governor Beshear confirmed the deaths of an 81-year-old woman in Perry County, a 79-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman in Letcher County, and a 76-year-old woman in Clay County. Eleven of the deaths occurred in Knott County, including a 63-year-old man, a 65-year-old woman and several children, Beshear said.

“Folks, that’s gonna get a lot higher,” Governor Andy Beshear said Friday. He estimated the death toll could rise as high as thirty.

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Governor Beshear activated the National Guard to assist in the rescue efforts. He also signed a state of emergency for Kentucky that covers every county.

Rachel Patton said that “floodwaters filled her Floyd County home so fast that her mother, who is on oxygen, had to be evacuated on a door that was floated across the high water,” reports AP News. “We had to swim out and it was cold. It was over my head so it was, it was scary,” she told WCHS TV. Patton said they lost everything, crying “everything’s gone, like, everything is gone. My whole life is gone.” These are some of the poorest communities in the country, where the flood waters swamped entire towns.

People were trapped in their homes and apartments, standing on top of counters, on top of their cars or on the roof. Floyd County Judge-Executive Robbie Williams said there are still people trapped that “we just can’t get to because the water’s so swift.”

FEMA has arrived in Kentucky to aid in the recovery. Governor Beshear said, “[t]here are hundreds of families that have lost everything. And many of these families didn’t have much to begin with. And so it hurts even more. But we’re going to be there for them.”

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What a devastating tragedy for these families. Many likely had no insurance to replace what they lost, given their level of poverty. Not to mention the loss of lives. How do you think they will get back on their feet?

Stacey Warner

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