Catastrophic Flooding Leaves at Least 37 Dead in Kentucky

"We've never seen something like this.”

Kentucky Flooding
Photo: LEANDRO LOZADA/Getty Images

At least 37 people have now been confirmed dead following catastrophic flooding in eastern Kentucky last week.

Speaking with CNN, Governor Andy Beshear said that the number, which includes children, is expected to increase as rescuers work around the clock to reach areas where flooding washed away roads or left them under water. Hundreds of residents remained unaccounted for Wednesday.

Towns and cities hit the hardest by torrential rains include Hazard, Jackson, Garrett, Salyersville, Booneville, Whitesburg, and Perry County.

"There's going to be multiple families that we've lost," Beshear said. "Kids that won't get the opportunity to grow up and experience so much that we have."

"This is so deadly, and it hit so hard, and it hit in the middle of the night," the governor continued, adding that although eastern Kentucky often floods. "We've never seen something like this. Whole roads washed out—we still can't get to a lot of people. There is so much water. The current is so strong. It is not safe for some of the water rescues that we need to do."

The flooding has left over 14,000 Kentuckians without power and several counties without access to water. So far, thousands of people have sought shelter.

In an early morning press conference Friday, Beshear said the state has so far completed hundreds of rescues, with about 50 air rescues, and hundreds of boat rescues. Communities are also staging their own rescue efforts.

"We took kayaks, jet skis, boats, chainsaws, and hatchets to every place that we could," Whitesburg resident Zach Caudill told CNN. "Everyone was there trying to lend a hand and help. That's how tight-knit our community is. When one of us hurts, we all hurt."

In addition to monetary donations, people are encouraged to focus on water and cleaning supplies for now.

Organizations fundraising for the recovery effort include: The Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky and Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

For more information and resources, Appalshop, a Whitesburg business hit hard by the flooding, is keeping a running list.

This is a developing story.

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