President Biden visits flood-ravaged areas of EKY
KENTUCKY (WKYT/AP) - President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden joined Governor Andy Beshear and First Lady Britainy Beshear on Monday in touring flood-ravaged areas of Eastern Kentucky.
At least 37 people have died since last month’s deluge, which dropped 8 to 10 1/2 inches of rain in only 48 hours. Gov. Andy Beshear told Biden that authorities expect to add at least one other death to the total. The National Weather Service said Sunday that flooding remains a threat, warning of more thunderstorms through Thursday.
The Bidens arrived at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington around 10:30 a.m. Monday. They left on Marine One and landed in Hazard at the Wendell Ford airport around 11:45 a.m., where they met Gov. Andy Beshear and his wife.
The President joined a flood briefing at Marie Roberts Elementary School in the Lost Creek area of Breathitt County. During the briefing, President Biden pledged the continued support of the federal government.
“We’re not leaving, as long as it takes, we’re going to be here,” he said.
Biden has expanded federal disaster assistance to Kentucky, ensuring the federal government will cover the full cost of debris removal and other emergency measures.
After the briefing at the school, the President and First Lady visited families impacted by floodwaters. As President Biden’s motorcade headed down Kentucky 15, people were cleaning up the damage that the floods left behind.
People who live in the area say they’ve lost nearly everything. We spoke to a woman whose mother lives in a home down the street from the school. She says the floods destroyed the business she and her husband ran.
James Crowe has been living in the area since the early 90s. He built his home by himself. He says the water was so high it touched the bottom of the balcony on the second story. On the first level, the water tore off walls and left behind a lot of mud.
Crowe says he wasn’t excited about the president’s visit. He just wants to focus on the work at hand.
“I can rebuild but there is nothing to rebuild. Everybody is coming around taking pictures and looking, gawking more or less. Some people say ‘here’s some water, here’s some cleaning supplies,’ that’s all good. We need water, we need cleaning supplies, but we need prayers and hands, and people to come in put their boots on gloves on and help these people,” Crowe said.
Other people in the Lost Creek area, said they were excited about President Biden’s visit and hope it’ll help them get some much-needed flood relief.
“We can all use money. Everybody can. I hope FEMA helps everybody that needs it,” said Lost Creek area resident Larry Thompson.
Despite the damage, we’ve seen people focusing on the positive, like neighbors helping neighbors clear out debris. Some tell us they’re counting their blessings and dealing with things one day at a time.
Copyright 2022 WKYT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.