The death toll keeps rising. As of this writing, it’s up to 37 people. By the time you read this, it’s likely to be higher.
In fact, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said he fears that bodies will continue to be found for weeks, as hundreds of people remain missing.
Of course, I’m referring to the devastating flooding that occurred late last week in eastern portions of the Bluegrass State. The flooding came on the heels of record-breaking rainfall in the St. Louis area.
The slow-moving thunderstorms dumped huge amounts of rain across eastern Kentucky. In addition to drowning many residents, floodwaters damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and vehicles. Creeks and rivers rose out of their banks, adding to the horrific conditions.
Daring Rescues by Air and Water
Helicopters and boats were used to rescue as many as possible. At last count there were 660 air rescues. Some people have entered shelters, while others were on rooftops or in trees waiting for rescue.
Tens of thousands of people lost electrical power due to the storms and flooding. Which does not bode well for survivors facing brutal heat this week. Kentucky cities receiving the most rainfall included Hazard, Jackson and Buckhorn.
“The most risk is on the northernmost part of the impacted area where it is very unstable,” Beshear said. “When the rain stops, it’s going to get really hot.”
Damage to property and buildings is being estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars so far. FEMA Administrator Deanna Criswell and Beshear had a close-up look at the devastation on Friday when they surveyed the area in a National Guard helicopter.
Kentucky a Target Yet Again
The massive flooding came less than eight months after tornadoes ripped through Kentucky, killing 80 people.
“I wish I could tell you why we keep getting hit here in Kentucky,” Beshear said. “I wish I could tell you why areas where people may not have that much continue to get it and lose everything.
“I can’t give you the why, but I know what we do in response to it. The answer is everything we can.”
In addition to local response groups, National Guard troops and FEMA employees, Team Rubicon is on the scene with three recovery operations. Since its launch in 2010, Team Rubicon has united the skills of military veterans and first responders to respond to communities affected by disasters.
When local government resources are overwhelmed, Team Rubicon is called upon to provide expertise, people and resources to help alleviate pressures on the system.
4Patriots Donates Survival Food
Nearly 30,000 Team Rubicon volunteers have been trained in disaster response tactics. Known as “Greyshirts,” these volunteers have engaged in countless activities to help people affected by disasters.
Including repairing and rebuilding homes, administering emergency medicine, and facilitating hazard mitigation. As well as being involved in incident management, site surveys, debris management, and disaster mapping and work order management.
As you probably know, 4Patriots has been supporting Team Rubicon financially since 2017. Your purchases of our products are what make these donations possible.
We are currently contributing hundreds of 72-Hour Survival Food Kits to the East Kentucky DreamCenter for distribution to Kentucky residents affected by the flooding.
‘An Ongoing Natural Disaster’
President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for Kentucky on Friday. That provides federal aid to support recovery efforts.
“This isn’t just a disaster,” Beshear said. “It is an ongoing natural disaster and we are in the midst of it.”
Many roads in the area are impassible due to flood waters and the damage they’ve caused. Bridges are also unusable. One video showed a school that was nearly completely submerged.
Roofs from houses could still be seen floating downstream 24 hours after the flood emergency began. Flash flood emergencies are only issued when life-threatening or catastrophic flooding is ongoing.
With cellphone service out in many areas, communications have been affected, exacerbating the problem.
County’s Infrastructure ‘Totally Annihilated’
Donald Mobelini is the mayor of Hazard. He said seven of the city’s nine bridges are impassable. And that some houses standing for more than 50 years without water coming close to them are now flooded.
He added that people in Hazard and Perry County are “so overwhelmed, we don’t really know what to ask for.”
Perry County Sheriff Joe Engle told CNN that the storm “totally annihilated” the county’s infrastructure. “Water, telephone, Internet, electricity, all the basic roads, all the basic things you would build a community around have just disappeared.”
In Floyd County, some small towns were completely underwater. County Judge-Executive Robbie Williams said, “I’ve never seen this much water before.”
Water Systems Compromised
Another issue caused by the flooding is a lack of clean drinking water. The governor’s office said 22 water systems are now operating in a limited capacity.
As many as 60,000 water service connections are without any water or are under a boil advisory. FEMA has brought tractor trailers full of water to a number of counties.
In addition, many of the residents affected by the flooding do not have flood insurance. Mainly because they were not located in flood zones.
“If they lose their home, it’s total loss,” Mobelini said. “There’s not going to be an insurance check coming to help that.”
Please extend your thoughts and prayers to Kentucky residents and the volunteers helping on the scene.