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Appalachian floods kill at least 16 people when rescue teams are deployed – Chicago Tribune

Jackson, Kentucky — A National Guard-backed search and rescue team searched Friday for record floods that wiped out the entire community in some of America’s poorest locations. The Governor of Kentucky said 16 people had died. He expected more casualties as it continued to rain.

Jerry Stacy, Head of Emergency Management in Perry County, which was hit hard in Kentucky, said: “We are still missing.”

Powerful floods swallowed the town, hugging streams and streams in Appalachia valleys and pits, attacking homes and businesses, dumping cars in waste bins in wasted mountains, and pushing runaway equipment and debris onto bridges. The landslide put people in trouble on steep slopes, and at least 33,000 customers were powerless.

Governor Andy Beshear told The Associated Press on Friday that the death toll could more than double as children are among the victims and rescue teams search the affected areas.

“The tough news is that 16 people are currently confirmed dead and more people will be there,” the governor said in a midnight briefing. He said the deaths occurred in four counties in eastern Kentucky.

On Thursday, paramedics provided nearly 50 aerial and hundreds of water rescues, but more people were in need of help, the governor said. In some areas, water will not reach its peak until tomorrow. “

He said it would be difficult to identify the number of people of unknown origin due to the supply of cell services and electricity throughout the disaster area.

More than 200 people are looking for shelters, according to Bescher. He deployed the National Guard to the most devastated areas. The three parks set up shelters and the property damage was so great that the governor opened an online portal for donations to the victims. Mr. Bescher said President Joe Biden called for support for long-term reconstruction efforts and predicted that a full reconstruction would take more than a year.

Biden also declared a federal disaster to send relief money to more than 12 Kentucky counties, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency appointed officers to coordinate the recovery.

Bescher was scheduled to visit the disaster area on Friday, but postponed it because of the dangerous conditions at the airport where he was planning to land, his office said.

After several days of torrential rain, it rained more on Friday and the area suffered. The storm sent water erupting from the hillside, soaring from the riverbed, flooding the roads and forcing rescue teams to use helicopters and boats to reach the trapped people. Floods also affected parts of western West Virginia and southern West Virginia throughout the poverty-stricken areas.

“There are hundreds of families who have lost everything,” Bescher said. “And many of these families didn’t have much in the first place, and it hurts even more. But we’re going to be there for them.” More than 33,000 customers continued to lose power in eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia on Friday, with most reported power outages in Kentucky.

Rescue teams also worked in Virginia and West Virginia to reach out to people in areas where roads were impassable. Governor Jim Justice has declared a state of emergency in six counties in West Virginia. There, floods caused trees to fall, power outages, and road blockades. Governor Glenn Youngkin also made a state of emergency, allowing resources to be mobilized throughout the flooded areas of southwestern Virginia.

“We anticipate more rainfall in the coming days, so we will be willing to provide as much resources as possible to help those affected,” Yongkin said in a statement. Said.

Some floods receded after Thursday’s peak, but the National Weather Service said flash floods were possible throughout the region until Friday evening.

The most devastated areas in eastern Kentucky suffered 8 to 10 1/2 inches in 48 hours until Thursday, said Brandon Bond, a meteorologist at Jackson’s National Weather Service. In some areas, including Martin County, it rained more overnight and a new flash flood warning was issued on Friday.

The North Fork on the Kentucky River has risen to break records in at least two places. According to Bonds, the river gauge in Whitesburg was 20.9 feet (6.4 meters), more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) higher than previous records, and in Jackson the river top was 43.47 feet (13.25 meters).

According to Bond, it will rain more on Friday afternoon and may begin to dry on Saturday “before things recover from Sunday to next week.”

Crystal Holbrook was already sufficient on Thursday as her family raced overnight to move cars, campers, trailers, and equipment as a rapidly rising flood threatened the town of Jackson in southeastern Kentucky. “It’s getting a little harder to find the hills,” she said.

In Whitesburg, Kentucky, floods have flooded the Appalshop, an art education center renowned for promoting and preserving the region’s history and culture.

“We don’t know exactly what the damage was because we couldn’t get into the building safely or we were actually too close to it,” said Communications Director Meredith Scallos. “We know that some of our archived material flooded the streets of Whitesburg from the building.”

Associated Press writers Rebecca Reynolds and Dylan Lovan in Louisville, Kentucky, and Sarah Brumfield in Silver Spring, Maryland contributed to this report.

Appalachian floods kill at least 16 people when rescue teams are deployed – Chicago Tribune

Source link Appalachian floods kill at least 16 people when rescue teams are deployed – Chicago Tribune

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