At least 15 Kentuckians have died in historic flooding that has hit the eastern portion of the state this week. Gov. Andy Beshear said he expected that number at least to double and said those who wish to donate to help the area can do so through the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund.
Appalshop, a nonprofit based in hard-hit Whitesburg, has listed a number of details on its website about how to help locally, including the addresses of shelters and donation drop-off spots. It also includes recommendations for where those outside the area can safely direct their money:
Letcher County Flood Relief Amazon List, which is handled by the Appalshop staff
Appalshop also listed the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund, recommended by Beshear.
“It's going to be a tough couple days,” the governor said in a video statement Friday. “And then it's going to be a long rebuild. But we are tough enough. We'll make it. Let's stick together. Let's help out our fellow human beings.”
Nearly 50 air rescues and hundreds of boat rescues were conducted on Thursday, according to Beshear. An estimated 23,000 people remain without power, and many counties in the eastern part of the state are without water.
“This situation is ongoing,” Beshear said. “We are still in the search-and-rescue mode.”
The flooding began Tuesday, when up to 12 inches of rain fell in western Kentucky. At its peak, the rain fell in some locations at a rate of 5 inches per hour. The National Weather Service said the chances of that much rain falling there were 1 in 1,000 in any given year.
The extreme rain continued in the eastern part of the state on Wednesday, turning Appalachian towns into raging rivers that swept away homes. As much as 14 inches of rain was recorded in Perry County, and it was still falling on Thursday evening.
On Friday, President Biden approved a major disaster declaration for Kentucky and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts.