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On Sunday, Kentucky’s Governor Any Beshear said that at least 26 people, including children, were killed by flooding. He warned that the number would rise and authorities may continue to find bodies for weeks.
Among the dead are four children from the same family, but Beshear said two more might have been killed by torrential rains and flooding in central and eastern Kentucky.
He explained that authorities have not yet been able to access some parts of the state and that the rain complicates rescue efforts.
He also announced that he would activate more reservists from the state National Guard to help rescue Kentucky residents. They will help citizens who, in some cases, have been trapped by floodwaters on the rooftops of their homes and have even had to climb trees, according to the local Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper.
On Thursday, Beshear declared a state of emergency across Kentucky and mobilized the Kentucky National Guard to deal with what he described as one of the worst and most devastating floods in the state’s history.
This is the second natural disaster to hit Kentucky in less than eight months after a series of tornadoes in December took the lives of more than 80 people in the western part of the state.
President Joe Biden announced last Friday the declaration of Kentucky as a “major disaster” area to confirm the federal government’s aid to the state to cope with these floods, the White House said in a statement.
The National Weather Service (NWS) keeps central, southern and eastern Kentucky on flood watch and predicts that torrential rains will continue on Monday and Tuesday.
The rains have been so heavy that on Friday, the stretch of the Kentucky River in the city of Jackson reached the highest level ever recorded at 13 meters, surpassing a record set in 1939.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, many areas hit by the flooding have been left without running water, and some 50 bridges in the state have been badly damaged or destroyed.
In addition, some 13,000 homes and businesses in Kentucky are without power this Sunday, according to the PowerOutage.us platform.