Devastating floods in Kentucky, in the southern United States, have killed at least 26, state Gov. Andy Beshear said, according to NBC News. According to the American website, Beshear posted a video on YouTube this Sunday (31) confirming the new death toll from the floods, saying there are more bodies but that he “can’t yet confirm” how many .
Meanwhile, rescue teams continue to search for survivors. Torrential rain unleashed earlier this week caused unprecedented flash flooding in eastern Kentucky, a region badly hit by poverty, according to AFP.
On Saturday (30th), Beshear said at a press conference that he was “concerned that we will find more bodies in the coming weeks”. The governor said that “they are still in the search and rescue phase.” He previously told CNN that “there are still many people missing in this area and having a fixed number” of victims will be a difficult task.
According to Beshear, hundreds of people have been rescued by boat since the floods began on Wednesday night.
“To everyone in eastern Kentucky, we are with you today and for the weeks, months and years to come. We’ll get through this together,” he promised.
Air Rescue and Joint Force
Beshear said National Guard teams from Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia have conducted more than 650 air rescues since the storm began, while police and other state agency teams have conducted about 750 water rescues.
The search was “extremely exhausting and difficult” for the rescuers. Some areas of the state recorded more than 200 millimeters of rain in 24 hours.
For example, the water level at the North Fork of the Kentucky River in the city of Whitesburg broke its record in just a few hours, reaching 7 meters.
The floods turned many streets into rivers, and some houses in lowlying areas were almost completely submerged, leaving only their roofs visible.
The weather improved on Saturday, but more rain is expected this Sunday.
“As a cold front moves south, the area will remain largely dry through today. The dry weather is expected to end Sunday afternoon as the barrier rises north back into the region,” the Jackson Office of the National Weather Service tweeted. Kentucky.
Beshear told CNN that the upcoming rains are challenging because while they aren’t expected to be “historic” in their records, they will present a “difficult” scenario.
The eastern Kentucky floods are the latest in a series of extreme events that scientists say are a clear sign of climate change.
In December, dozens of violent tornadoes hit five states in the central United States, most notably Kentucky, killing at least 79 people.
“We learned many lessons in western Kentucky from those devastating tornadoes about seven months ago, so we’re offering whatever assistance we can and we’re moving quickly across the state to help,” he said.
US President Joe Biden declared the state a “natural disaster” and authorized federal reinforcements to support areas hit by “storms, floods, landslides and avalanches.”