The terrible but provisional death toll of the floods in Kentucky, with more than 25 dead
The death toll from the devastating floods in Kentucky has risen to 25 and is expected to rise further, the governor of the U.S. said Saturday, July 30, as emergency services and residents continued to search for survivors.
“We have 25 confirmed dead,” Andy Beshear said during a news conference. “That death toll will continue to rise.”
“Unfortunately, I think we’re going to be finding bodies for weeks, ” the Democratic governor added as torrential rains pounded the eastern part of the rural state overnight Wednesday, July 27, into Thursday, July 28, turning some roads into rivers and forcing residents to take shelter on the roofs of their homes while waiting for help.
In addition, Beshear said four children died in the flooding, not six as previously reported.
According to the local Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper, the four siblings, ranging in age from one-and-a-half to eight years old, were swept away while taking refuge in a tree top with their parents.
This is incredible, as parts of Kentucky received some 20 cm of rain in 24 hours and, in some places, river waters rose suddenly by several meters before breaking their banks.
In Frankfort, the governor noted that it was still difficult to estimate the number of missing people because cell phone services were no longer working in the hardest hit areas and people who escaped the torrential rains could not reassure their families.
The White House declared a “natural disaster” state and released federal reinforcements to support areas affected by “the storm, flooding, landslides and mudslides.
National Guard reservists have conducted 650 evacuations by helicopter since Wednesday, while state security services have conducted 750 by boat. According to Beshear, the operations were “extremely stressful and difficult” for rescuers.
Fifteen reception centers were opened in schools, churches and natural parks.
Fortunately, the rain stopped over the region on Saturday, July 30. Still, more rain is expected on Sunday, July 31, which may pose new logistical problems for rescuers who have difficulty reaching victims because many roads are cut, bridges are unusable, and water levels are still too high.
“Our problem will be Sunday,” Beshear confirmed on CNN. “It’s going to start raining again, and while we don’t think it’s going to be historic rains, it’s going to be hard.”
Moreover, intense heat is expected next week, and thousands of houses are deprived of electricity, air conditioning, and drinking water. The authorities are preparing to set up “cool centers” with portable generators for the most vulnerable and to distribute water.