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At least 35 dead from historic flooding in Kentucky, death toll continues to rise

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At least 35 people have died as a result of severe flash flooding in the Kentucky. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear cautioned that the death toll could rise over the next few days.

“Folks, that’s going to get a lot higher,” Bashear said, adding that deaths have been reported in Perry, Letcher, Knott and Clay counties. Bashear took a helicopter ride with the National Guard and said that the destruction “is by far the worst” he has seen.

“It is devastating for us, especially after the western part of our state went through the worst tornado disaster we’ve ever seen just seven-and-a-half months ago,” Beshear told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. He was referring to a series of tornadoes that occurred in December and left 74 people dead.

As well as the fatalities, the floods have also left 23,000 people without power and many have had their homes wiped out completely, according to The Governor’s Office.

Beshear issued his condolences to the families affected and acknowledged that there will be a long re-building process. “To the families that know you’ve already sustained a loss, we’re going to grieve with you,” Beshear said. “We’re going to support you and we’re going to be here for you — not just today, but tomorrow and in the weeks and years to come.” He added, “It’s going to be a tough couple of days, it’s going to be a long rebuild.”

Bill Haneberg, who is a climate expert and the state’s geologist, said the rainfall and flooding are “extraordinary” for Kentucky. “It is virtually unprecedented in the Appalachians.”

President Joe Biden has declared the floods to be “a major disaster” and has promised federal aid to help with immediate recovery and with the re-building process. Biden ordered Federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides.

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