At least 16 dead in ‘devastating’ Kentucky floods

US

At least 16 people have been killed after flash flooding in eastern Kentucky following a series of storms.

Torrential rains have devastated the area, with its governor Andy Beshear declaring a state of emergency in six counties.

Home have been flooded by Lost Creek in Kentucky. Pic: AP
Image:
Lost Creek in Kentucky. Pic: AP

“We are currently experiencing one of the worst, most devastating flooding events in Kentucky’s history,” he said. “Hundreds will lose their homes.”

Among the dead was an 81-year-old woman in Perry County, and the local authorities say several people are unaccounted for.

Flooding near Quicksand, Kentucky. Pic: AP
Image:
Quicksand, Kentucky. Pic: AP

“Heartbreakingly, we can confirm at least 15 deaths, but we expect that number to grow,” Mr Beshear tweeted on Friday.

“Our teams are working around the clock to help those impacted. I want to thank the heroic first responders… and others.”

He said: “This situation is ongoing. We are still in the search and rescue mode.”

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Mr Beshear has appealed for federal assistance and said the damage caused could take years to repair.

Right Beaver Creek in Garrett, Kentucky. Pic: Pat McDonogh/USA Today Network via Reuters
Image:
Garrett, Kentucky. Pic: Pat McDonogh/USA Today Network via Reuters

The national guard and state police have been using helicopters and boats to rescue people marooned among the floodwaters, while evacuation centres have been opened in state parks.

More than 24,000 households are without power, according to the Poweroutage.us website.

Flood warnings and watches remain in effect throughout the day for the eastern half of the state as well as northeast Tennessee and western West Virginia, where more rainfall is expected to swell waterways that are already well above their flood stages, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

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