Hundreds of volunteers are responding to help, including seven from the DMV.
FRANKFORT, Ky. — The rain that unleashed massive floods in Appalachian mountain communities was diminishing on Tuesday, leaving survivors to face a new threat: baking in the heat as they try to recover.
“It’s going to get really, really hot. And that is now our new weather challenge,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said at his Tuesday morning briefing on the disaster.
The death toll stood at 37 on Tuesday after more bodies were found Monday in the ruined landscape, and while more than 1,300 people have been rescued, crews were still trying to reach some people who remain cut off by floods or mudslides, he said. Hundreds remained unaccounted for, a number that should drop once cell phone service is restored and people can tell each other they’re alive.
“It is absolutely devastating out there. It’s going to take years to rebuild. People left with absolutely nothing. Homes that we don’t know where they are, just entirely gone. And we continue to find bodies of our brothers and sisters that we have lost,” Beshear said.
The American Red Cross is working around the clock with partners to help people impacted by the recent flooding across Eastern Kentucky. More than 200 trained Red Cross disaster workers, including seven individuals from the DMV, are helping those affected by the floods find a safe place to stay, food to eat and emotional support during this challenging time.
Theresa Young, executive director of the Red Cross Delmarva Chapter, spoke with WUSA9 about the damage she’s seen from the ground.
“The devastation of homes, roads, bridges, trucks in the road, mudslides — that’s the visible. But I also see the hubub, everybody moving and helping and hundreds of people on the ground from Red Cross now.”
As of Tuesday, nearly 430 people were staying at 11 emergency shelters, and 191 more were being housed temporarily in state parks, Beshear said.
Young said the area of eastern Kentucky dealt with record-breaking flooding just a year ago.
“This community has been hit absolutely hard,” Young said. Young says each community and county is a little different when it comes to the impacts of flood waters.
“We have whole counties without water. They don’t have potable water and they don’t have drinkable water… Each community has varying degrees of need and varying degrees of what’s important now,” Young said.
Young said that those who want to help should consider financial donations. She also recommended that people join the ranks of the Red Cross to offer help when it is needed.
The disaster was the latest in a string of catastrophic deluges that have pounded parts of the U.S. this summer, including St. Louis. Scientists warn that climate change is making such events more common.
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