Kentucky floods kill at least 28 – ‘all gone’

July 31 (Reuters) – At least 28 people, including four children, have been killed in flash floods triggered by torrential rains in eastern Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said on Sunday.

Some homes in the hardest-hit areas were washed away after days of heavy rains, which Beshear described as the worst in the state’s history. Rescue teams steered motorboats through residential and commercial areas in search of victims.

“Everything is gone. Everything is gone. The whole office is gone,” Rachel Patton, one of the flood victims, told WCHS Television. The houses around her were half submerged in water.

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

Officials have warned that the death toll could rise further due to heavy rains hampering rescue efforts. The National Weather Service has forecast several rounds of rain and storms through Tuesday, with a flash flood watch in place for southern and eastern Kentucky through Monday morning.

“We remain focused on meeting the immediate needs of food, water and shelter for the thousands of fellow Kentuckians displaced by this devastating flood,” Beshear said in a statement.

Beshear, who declared a state emergency over the flooding, earlier told NBC that officials would be “finding bodies for weeks” as rescuers moved to more remote areas.

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The flooding is the second major national disaster to hit Kentucky in seven months, following tornadoes that killed nearly 80 in the western part of the state in December. read more

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Kentucky on Friday, allowing federal funds to be earmarked for the state. Affected residents can apply for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Beshear’s office said.

According to PowerOutage.US, more than 14,000 power outages were reported by Sunday afternoon, with widespread damage to power lines.

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

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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