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Aftermath of Flash Floods Can Be Seen as Rescue Efforts Continue in Eastern Kentucky

By: Anya Li

Rescue crews around the country have gone to eastern Kentucky after days of flash flooding began last week. As of now, at least 37 people have lost their lives and hundreds remain missing. This is the worst flooding the region has seen in decades.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said on Monday that the damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure will cost millions to repair. More than 1,400 people have been rescued by boat and helicopter, more than 12,000 households remain without power, and hundreds of homes and businesses were flooded.

The eastern side of the state got hit the hardest, with destruction concentrated in roughly a half-dozen counties in the Appalachian region. According to officials, at least 14 people, including four children, died in Knott County, one of the hardest hit communities.

Beshear, who visited some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods after the flooding, said he had seen “houses swept away” and "schools ruined.” He called the flooding “the deadliest and the most devastating of my lifetime.”

Displaced locals have taken refuge in state parks, churches, and mobile homes brought in by the state. Around 300 people are in shelters, officials said. Many people “only have the clothes on their backs,” Beshear said. “Everything is ruined.”

“I wish I could tell you why we keep getting hit here in Kentucky,” Beshear said during a briefing in which he updated residents on the rising death toll. He also displayed a sense of anguish and exhaustion that many in the state have felt after recurring, deadly natural disasters.

Just last year, residents in Kentucky experienced an ice storm that cut off power to 150,000 people, a flash flood that left many stranded in their homes, and December tornadoes that destroyed nearly 200 miles of land and killed 80 people.

“I wish I could tell you why areas where people may not have much continue to get hit and lose everything,” the governor went on. “I can’t give you the why, but I know what we do in response to it. And the answer is everything we can.”

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