TEAM COVERAGE: Beshear says most people reported missing after flooding are accounted for

Governor Andy Beshear gave another update Tuesday afternoon about ongoing relief efforts from last week’s devastating flooding in Eastern Kentucky
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 9:21 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT/WYMT) - Governor Andy Beshear gave another update Tuesday afternoon about ongoing relief efforts from last week’s devastating flooding in Eastern Kentucky:

Governor Brashear speaks in Breathitt County

Posted by Breathitt County Emergency Management on Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The death toll remains at 37, but the governor said there were at least two recovered bodies that were still being processed. Gov. Beshear says the official death toll number will be updated.

Some good news did come out of the governor’s Tuesday afternoon update. Gov. Beshear says Kentucky State Police has done over 1,000 wellness checks and most of the people reported missing have now been accounted for.

He said more than 1,300 rescues have taken place in the last few days.

WKYT News at 10:00pm (CW)

In one of the bigger announcements Tuesday, Gov. Beshear mentioned Buckhorn Lake State Park is back open and has power, water and something it typically doesn’t have: Cell service. The Governor thanked AT&T for making that happen. He also mentioned a Starlink base is on-site to help with communication as well. 37 flood victims are staying there currently.

Due to thousands of people still not having power and hot days in the forecast, the Governor announced several cooling centers are now open.

Here is a list:

  • Breathitt: Breathitt Library, 1024 College Ave., Jackson
  • Floyd: Floyd Community Center, 7199 KY 80, Langley
  • Johnson: City of Paintsville Recreation Center, 232 Preston Street, Paintsville
  • Knott: Knott County Sportsplex, 450 Kenny Champion Loop, Leburn
  • Letcher: Letcher County Central High School, 435 Cougar Drive, Whitesburg
  • Perry: Perry County Community Center, 354 Perry Park Road, Hazard
  • Pike: Valley Elementary School, 162 Douglas Parkway, Pikeville
  • Wolfe: Senior Citizens Center, 76 Marion Street, Campton

Kentucky State Police has performed more than 1,000 wellness checks to date. 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

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.

Beshear says the first travel trailers to help house people arrived in eastern Kentucky Saturday. He said Jenny Wiley State Park in Floyd County is full, but the trailers are there to help increase capacity.

There are 14 emergency shelters open. They are assisting 483 people.

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.

Two more Eastern Kentucky counties have been added to the individual assistance list. Tuesday morning, Gov. Andy Beshear tweeted President Joe Biden approved Pike and Floyd County being added to the list. Breathitt, Clay, Knott, Letcher or Perry counties are also included.

You can go to a mobile center for FEMA assistance:

Center locations:

  • Breathitt County, 421 Jett Drive, Jackson, KY 41339
  • Clay County, Clay Community Center, 311 Highway 638, Manchester, KY 40962
  • Knott County, Knott County Sportsplex, 450 Kenny Champion Loop #8765, Leburn, KY 41831
  • Letcher County, Letcher County Recreation Center, 1505 Jenkins Rd., Whitesburg, KY 41858
  • Perry County, Hazard Community and Technical College, 1 Community College Drive, Hazard, KY 41701

Hours for all the centers are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

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

Beshear says the number one need right now is water, and you can go to the state’s flood resource website to see where to send those donations. Gov. Beshear says some school districts in these areas may have to delay the start of school because of damage to buildings and facilities.

Perry County

Trucks full of supplies and donations continue to roll into eastern Kentucky

A small community in Perry County, that’s home to a large school, was hit particularly hard by the flood.

Neighborhoods surrounding Squabble Creek were hit hard. If homes weren’t washed away, water got inside and destroyed everything. Truckloads of supplies are arriving to help people.

One of the strangers that provided help, drove a tractor-trailer through the night and arrived at 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, then slept outside until others woke up and helped unload the truck. All the water will help people who still don’t have running water or really anything else.

Buckhorn School was hit hard also. Nearly everything inside was lost but some items survived. In particular, an “In God We Trust” plaque was found and it now hangs inside the distribution center.

The principal tells us he takes that as a good sign of good things to come. The school is said to be the centerpiece or heartbeat of the community.

“But, our community is small but we have come together. We have had every school teacher from over here at the high school have helped in some way, the ball teams have come. Former ball teams have come,” said Tim Wooten with Buckhorn School.

Buckhorn residents tell us they are grateful there was not more loss of life in their community and that most were not injured in what happened.

The Perry County Board of Education is expected to meet soon to determine how and when the school year will start.

Breathitt County

This was Governor Beshear's third stop today as he continues to visit areas devastated by these floods.

Governor Andy Beshear’s third stop Tuesday was Breathitt County, as he continues to visit areas devastated by the floods.

After meeting with county and city officials, the governor went by Breathitt County High School, which did suffer extensive damage in parts of the building. Workers have been there removing desks, cabinets, and other classroom staples that are caked in mud.

Breathitt County went through flooding in 2020, but school leaders said it’s nothing compared to this. They do expect to be able to get the schools that were damaged back together fairly quickly.

Superintendent Phillip Watts said over 60 district employees have either extensive damage or lost their homes and are working to make contact with students.

“A lot of our schools were water bound or evacuated, so we were very happy that the waters went down and we’re starting to do recovery efforts. I’ve got to give a shout out to all of our bus drivers that came and assisted, that they transported a lot of people that night,” Superintendent Watts.

The vocational school just next door sits a lot lower than the high school does and got about 10 to 12 feet of water. The football field house was also destroyed.

Governor Beshear has committed priority to helping schools recover, and estimates several districts school years will be impacted.

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