40 confirmed dead in EKY floods

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Staff Report
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Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed there are 40 confirmed dead due to July’s historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky. 

During his weekly press conference, he also gave updates on the rest of the effort to help the flood victims in EKY. 

Missing Persons

Kentucky Emergency Management has coordinated with the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Aviation Branch to conduct an aerial search for the two missing Breathitt County citizens: Vanessa Baker, a 60-year-old woman, and Nancy Cundiff, a 29-year-old woman – both from the Lost Creek community. If you have any information about either of these individuals, please contact KSP Post 13 in Hazard at 606-435-6069.

Water Outages

All drinking-water systems are now operational; 22 systems were down immediately after the flooding.

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park lodge and cabins are now completely restored to city water connection. A boil water advisory will likely remain through Monday, Sept. 19 for the entire Buckhorn system.

There are still 52 service connections without water, down from 34,121 on July 28. More than 330 customers remain under a boil water advisory, down from 46,000 at its peak. Two water systems have limited operations: Breathitt and Hazard. Four wastewater systems are not operational: Fleming-Neon, Millstone Alternative, Buckhorn Elementary and High Schools and Robinson Elementary School.


Local organizations including state parks, churches, and schools are providing shelter to survivors. Kentucky state parks are currently housing more than 338 people.


Another 558 loads of debris, amounting to 7,351 tons, were removed on Wednesday from waterways and state and county rights-of-way. To date, 171,089 tons of debris have been removed from state and county rights-of-way and waterways. Based on hauling tonnages to date, estimated removal costs will reach $11.5 million for waterway and $18.6 million for right of way debris.

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More than $65.8 million in grants have been approved under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program for 7,348 households. In addition to visiting a Disaster Recovery Center, Kentuckians can also apply through FEMA at DisasterAssistance.gov, on their mobile app or by calling 800-621-3362. There are six fixed Disaster Recovery Centers now open. To see the locations, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.

Travel Trailers

Since Sept. 7, an additional 51 travel trailers have been moved to Eastern Kentucky. Currently, 371 individuals are being housed in 132 travel trailers across seven state parks. There are 248 travel trailers onsite. Individuals seeking emergency sheltering in travel trailers can find more information and register at governor.ky.gov/FloodResources or call 502-234-1225. Last week, Beshear and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the State of Louisiana is donating up to 300 travel trailers originally acquired to aid Hurricane Ida survivors to shelter Eastern Kentucky flood victims.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Lee County residents are now eligible to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Disaster Unemployment Assistance claimants in Lee County can apply for benefits online through the Kentucky Career Center website or by phone at 502-875-0442. The deadline to apply is Oct. 10.

Private Bridges Emergency Repair

Currently, 475 private bridges have been registered through the Private Bridge/Access Emergency Repair program. These bridges will be evaluated by Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and FEMA. The Governor noted, however, that evaluation does not guarantee eligibility for emergency access. So far, 314 bridge assessments have been completed. To register for the program, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.

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National Flood Insurance Program

The program has issued a total of $16.5 million in payments.

U.S. Small Business Administration

To date the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $40.7 million.

Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund

Flood survivors who qualify for FEMA are eligible for an additional $500. Much like the process for the Western Kentucky tornado relief, there is no application for this assistance. Data is being collected through FEMA, and eligible recipients will receive payment directly. So far, 6,507 checks are going out for this additional $500, totaling $3,253,500 in payments. The fund has paid for 40 funerals totaling $400,000.

To date, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief fund has raised over $9.6 million from 37,060 donors. The Governor also highlighted and thanked major donors this week including: Humana Inc., $250,000; Liberty Utilities Co., $50,000; Four Roses Distillery, $50,000; Chevron Products Company, $25,000; Altria Group Inc., $25,000; North American Stainless Employees, $18,200; and United Way of Laurel Co., $16,200. Donations can be made at TeamEKYFloodReliefFund.ky.gov.

Eastern Kentucky SAFE Fund Awards

Gov. Beshear announced Tuesday that Knott and Letcher counties are the first to submit requests for and receive financial assistance from the Eastern Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (EKSAFE) Fund. These funds will be used to help support recovery efforts following the massive flooding that began July 26, devastating areas of Eastern Kentucky.

Together the two counties will receive more than $1.28 million in funding, which includes $531,000 to the Knott County Fiscal Court to relieve strained fiscal liquidity and $531,000 to the Letcher County Fiscal Court to ease strained fiscal liquidity and $220,000 to engage a floodplain coordinator.

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