State of emergency declared for devastating flooding in eastern Kentucky

(Source: Governor Andy Beshear – Team Kentucky update via Facebook.)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Andy Beshear has declared a state of emergency due to severe flooding in eastern Kentucky.

Beshear was at the State Emergency Operations Center around 7 a.m., speaking directly to local officials, directors of emergency management, the Kentucky National Guard, cabinet leaders and the CEO of the American Red Cross. The governor said a state of emergency has been declared for Breathitt, Floyd, Clay, Owsley, Letcher and Pike counties.

“We are currently experiencing one of the most severe and devastating floods in Kentucky history, Beshear said. “The situation is dynamic and ongoing. In most places we don’t see the water receding – in fact in most places it hasn’t crested yet. What we are going to see coming out of this is massive property damage and we expect loss of life. Hundreds of people will lose their homes. And it will be yet another event that will take not months, but years, for our families to rebuild and recover. »

At around 8:30 a.m., Beshear said the Kentucky National Guard was setting up three helicopters, 15 to 20 trucks, and KSP was providing an additional helicopter for rescues as needed. The Transportation Cabinet and Forestry Division are also gearing up to remove debris, and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife has come out with boats to work on water rescues.

Additionally, three state parks in the regions are being opened for people who have lost their homes, including Pine Mountain State Resort Park, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, and Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park. The governor added that these are located in the affected areas and are experiencing issues, such as loss of electricity, but will have rooms available.

Overall, Beshear said 23,000 people statewide are without power and work is underway to restore cellphone service. Water can also be lost in many areas due to broken water pipes, the governor said. Water has already been affected in Martin and Pike counties, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

The governor said many people in eastern Kentucky were waiting on rooftops to be rescued, and there were many people missing. Beshear said if anyone wishes to donate, water and cleaning supplies will be the most immediate emergency supplies needed at this time.

This morning, several faculty members were stranded at a school where no children or students were involved, Beshear said. The state will also check on elderly people who may be vulnerable.

“For anyone in Eastern Kentucky who is scared right now, we care about you, we love you. We will do our best to get to you as quickly as possible,” Beshear said.

Later today, the governor will release a list of shelters being created.

To protect yourself from flooding, watch for debris and contamination, wear protective clothing if possible, stay away from electrical equipment, and never drive on a road covered with running water.

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