Eastern Ky. flooding death toll continues to rise; Beshear gives update

Members of the Winchester, Ky., Fire Department walk inflatable boats across flood waters over...
Members of the Winchester, Ky., Fire Department walk inflatable boats across flood waters over Ky. State Road 15 in Jackson, Ky., to pick up people stranded by the floodwaters Thursday, July 28, 2022.(Timothy D. Easley | AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Published: Jul. 30, 2022 at 11:09 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor. Andy Beshear announced the death toll due to catastrophic flooding has risen to 26 lives lost.

The governor said that number is likely to increase.

“To everyone in Eastern Kentucky, we are going to be there for you today, and in the weeks, months and years ahead,” said Gov. Beshear.

The governor gave another update on flood conditions and the federal and state response Saturday at noon:

Beshear gives another flooding update as death toll rises

WATCH LIVE: Beshear to give another flooding update as death toll rises More >> https://bit.ly/3vtWKCK

Posted by WKYT on Saturday, July 30, 2022

The hardest-hit county so far is Knott. The Knott County coroner says 14 bodies have been recovered, including four children.

Three deaths have been reported in Perry County by the coroner, two in Letcher County and two in Clay County. The Breathitt County coroner is also reporting four deaths.

The governor also said the initial report of six children killed in the flooding has been changed to four. He says two ended up being adults.

Many people are still missing, and the governor says the search and rescue efforts could take weeks.

Beshear said during his Saturday briefing that the Kentucky National Guard has rescued 404 people by helicopter. He says the Tennessee National Guard is in Kentucky and has rescued 224 people by helicopter. The West Virginia Guard has rescued an additional 36. In total, that’s 664 people rescued.

Governor Beshear says they are still trying to get an accurate way to count missing persons. Communication limitations are very difficult right now in these areas.

Kentucky State Police is responding to the areas of eastern Kentucky that are affected. Due to a high volume of calls, they’re asking people to only dial 911 if you have an emergency. They provided these numbers for other needs:

  • If you wish to report a missing loved one in the counties of Breathitt, Perry, Knott, Letcher or Leslie counties, contact Post 13 Hazard at 606-435-6069.
  • If you wish to report a missing loved one in the counties of Magoffin, Johnson, Martin, Floyd, or Pike counties, contact Post 9 Pikeville at 606-433-7711
  • If you wish to report a missing loved one in the counties of Jackson, Owsley, or Lee counties, contact Post 7 Richmond at 859-623-2404
  • If you wish to report a missing loved one in the counties of Wolfe or Morgan counties, contact Post 8 Morehead at 606-784-4127
  • If you wish to report a missing loved one in Harlan County, contact Post 10 Harlan at 606-573-3131

The governor did give a bit of good news Saturday regarding Panbowl Lake in Jackson. He says water is down 10 feet, and leaks are near zero.

“A hazardous and dangerous situation no longer exists,” Beshear said.

State parks, schools, churches and community centers across Eastern Kentucky are sheltering Kentuckians displaced by flooding. Click here for a full list and more information on state flood resources.

Gov. Beshear says Friday morning President Joe Biden ordered federal aid to assist with recovery efforts in 13 eastern Kentucky counties.

Federal funding is available to the commonwealth, eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures in the counties of Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Wolfe. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire commonwealth.

Gov. Beshear says FEMA is sending 18 tractor trailers full of water to areas impacted by flooding.

Many organizations have taken the initiative to help those affected by the flooding.

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