Months after disastrous flooding in eastern Kentucky, death toll rises to 43, governor says
Months after catastrophic flooding upended many lives in Kentucky, the death toll has officially risen to 43, with two more people dying of health complications related to the crisis and one person still missing, the Governor Andy Beshear.
“Let us pray for these families and for all of Eastern Kentucky as we continue to try to stabilize the region and ultimately move toward rebuilding,” Beshear said at a news conference.
Parts of the state were nearly flattened in late July when historic flooding washed away homes, submerged vehicles in deep floodwaters and destroyed many businesses and critical water and power infrastructure. Thousands of residents were subsequently displaced and efforts to receive assistance from the federal government continue.
At the time, officials reiterated that it would be difficult to come to a final death toll due to the scale of the devastation the heavy rains have unleashed in the region and difficulties in accounting for those missing. .
« It’s a type of flooding that even a flooded area has never seen in our lifetimes, » Beshear told CNN during the flooding.
One person from Breathitt County remains missing, the governor announced Thursday. The two reported deaths were from Letcher and Breathitt counties.
Lives were lost in six counties due to the storms: 10 in Breathitt County; two in Clay County; 19 in Knott County; four in Letcher County; seven in Perry County; and one in Pike County.
Tracy Neice, mayor of Hindman, Kentucky, told CNN the day after the flooding that her town’s main street looked like a stretch of river where you could go rafting.
« I’ve lived here in this town for 56 years, and I’ve never seen water like this, » Neice said. « It was just devastating to all of our businesses, all of our offices. »
Experts and government officials have said that human-induced climate change is the main driver of these extreme weather events, which are expected to get worse and more frequent in the future.
Rising temperatures around the world are causing the atmosphere to hold more and more water, making water vapor more abundantly available to fall as rain.