Death toll keeps rising: Update on EKY floods, resources and how to help

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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Eastern Kentucky is still in emergency mode, according to Gov. Andy Beshear, who has already given two updates Monday on how the devastating flooding is affecting the Commonwealth.

At least 35 people have now been declared dead, and many more are hurt or without anywhere to live. More than 12,000 are without power.

“It’s certainly the deadliest and the most devastating of my lifetime,” Beshear said of the flooding. 

Beshear made several stops Sunday, including Hazard (Perry County), Leburn (Knott County), Hindman (Knott County), and Whitesburg (Letcher County). He said 359 survivors are temporarily housed at 15 shelters, two state parks, and campgrounds. Shelter sites can be found at governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.

“I was on the ground in person in three of the hardest hit communities,” Beshear said. “Important to see it firsthand to hear about the specific needs and to react in real-time.”

Some areas are currently working on restoring cell phone service, and 100 trailers left over from the tornadoes in Western Kentucky are now being sent to Eastern Kentucky for flooding victims.

beshear
Gov. Andy Beshear stands in front of one of the trailers heading to Eastern Kentucky.

The governor also announced the beginning of an application process for individual disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This is in addition to President Joe Biden declaring a major disaster in order to bring in federal money into Kentucky. 

Here’s How Groups In NKY Are Helping

There have been a lot of groups from NKY dispatched to EKY to help with rescue efforts. 

Covington firefighters, along with the Northern Kentucky All-Hazards Incident Management Team and the Northern Kentucky Technical Rescue Team, left the area Thursday night and began working at 8 a.m. Friday. 

“Whatever it takes, whatever the situation demands – they’re just there to help people,” said Covington Deputy Chief of Operations Mike Bloemer.

The Life Learning Center is collecting cleaning supplies for EKY through Aug. 3 at its Covington location (20 West 18th Street) and the Florence city building (8100 Ewing Blvd.). In Covington, items can be dropped off Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. In Florence, items can be dropped off Monday through Wednesday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Individual Assistance Available in Five Counties

FEMA announced that renters and homeowners of Breathitt, Clay, Knott, Letcher, and Perry counties affected by the severe storms, flooding, and mudslides that began July 26 may apply for individual disaster assistance.

Beshear said he expects additional counties to qualify for individual assistance as FEMA teams continue to assess the damage: “I fully expect more to be added as was the process in responding to December’s tornadoes.”

Applications can be filed online at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 or using the FEMA mobile app. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone, or other service, give FEMA the number for that service. To learn more, see the full release.

The Governor said it will be necessary when applying for assistance to have some critical information in hand, including:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted;
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying;
  • Your Social Security number;
  • A general list of damage and losses;
  • Banking information if you choose direct deposit; and
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name.

Survivors with homeowners, renters, or flood insurance should file a claim as soon as possible. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. You may be eligible for federal assistance if your policy does not cover all your damage expenses.

Take photos to document damage and begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage. Remember to keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair.

In addition to multiple state and federal agencies, Missouri Task Force 1 has been activated by FEMA to assist with the response.

“Once the team arrives at their destination, the task force will prepare for whatever mission they may be assigned,” the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management said in a statement. “These missions could include water rescues, wide area search, targeted searches or even humanitarian welfare checks.”

Travel trailers are being delivered and connected to utilities for emergency sheltering. Seventeen have been delivered to Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Floyd County, with 13 more expected by the end of the day. One has been delivered to Mine Made Adventure Park in Knott County, with five more expected. Information will be forthcoming for those who may be in need of these temporary shelters.

Missing Persons

Kentucky State Police is responding and actively searching for missing people.

  • 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.
  • Please note phone lines are extremely busy right now. It may take a while to get through.
  • A command staging area has been established at the Hazard Armory for emergency personnel only. The public should not travel to the affected areas until emergency personnel gives the all-clear.

Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund

As of July 31 at 10 a.m. EDT, there have been 8,935 donations to the Team Eastern Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, totaling $1,121,426.80.

To donate, visit TeamEKYfloodrelieffund.ky.gov.

Water Outages

  • Twenty-two water systems have limited operations due to power outages and storm damage.
  • Approximately 27,000 service connections are without water.
  • Approximately 40,000 service connections are under a Boil Water Advisory.
  • Communication has been established with all impacted drinking water systems.
  • All drinking water systems are reported to be operational.
  • Seventeen wastewater systems have limited operations, primarily due to flooded infrastructure, and are experiencing discharges from portions of their system.

Related:  Voices of NKY: Doug Crouch

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