This is “one of the worst and most devastating floods in Eastern Kentucky's history,” said state Governor Andy Beshear.
At least eight people died following torrential rains which caused immense flooding on Thursday in the eastern US state of Kentucky, announced its governor, who fears the death toll could rise. x27;is still rising.
This is going to prove to be the worst flooding in recent history, devastating and deadly, Governor Andy Beshear told the x27;time when the number of missing is unknown and heavy rain is expected until Friday.
For now, I believe I can confirm at least eight deaths, but this figure seems to be increasing hour by hour, he added. He says he expects a total death toll in double digits.
In the Jackson area, some roads have become rivers, with abandoned cars here and there. Below these small valleys surrounded by forests, the land was flooded on Thursday with light brown muddy water that left only the roofs of buildings and trees protruding in some places.
In these conditions, many residents took refuge on the roofs of their houses, waiting to be rescued. Between 20 and 30 were evacuated by air, Beshear told a local television station late Thursday.
With human-induced global warming, the atmosphere contains more water vapour, increasing the chances of heavy rainfall events, scientists say. These rains, combined with other factors, particularly related to land use planning, promote flooding.
Rescue workers are trying to evacuate the victims from the flooded areas, but some areas remain inaccessible.
Parts of Kentucky received about 20 centimeters of rain in 24 hours. Significant further rainfall is expected through Friday evening, and the flood alert has been maintained.
The Democratic governor declared the state emergencies in a handful of counties, and four National Guard helicopters, along with RIBs, have been deployed to assist with relief operations.
Near Jackson, rescuers were evacuating residents clad in life jackets in a small boat from an area where the Kentucky River has largely burst its banks, flooding many homes several tens of centimeters of water.
A little further on, a couple were trying to salvage what they could from their flooded house by piling up furniture in their large van.
The number of missing people is not known, as we still cannot access some places due to strong currents, the governor said.
Many people need help, the governor had said earlier. And we are doing our best to reach each one of them.
But the situation is difficult, he acknowledged. Hundreds of people are going to lose their homes and this is going to be another event requiring not months, but probably years, for families to rebuild and recover.
Some 25,000 people were without power Thursday, some without running water, in the state, he said.
President Joe Biden was held at the aware of the situation, said his spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre. The head of the United States Disaster Management Agency (FEMA), Deanne Criswell, is due to go there on Friday.