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National Guard, NKY first responders sent to Eastern KY to help with ‘devastating’ flooding, power outages

Flash flooding is caused major problems in the central Appalachian area (Photo form Floyd County Sheriff, via Kentucky Today)

This story has been updated

Flash flooding has pounded eastern Kentucky, causing devastating flooding, the full extent of which is still being felt — and determined.

The National Guard has been deployed and NKY first responders are now on the scene.

The Northern Kentucky All-Hazards Incident Management Team and the Northern Kentucky Technical Rescue Team Swift Water Resources were requested by the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management/State EOC-HQ and left late last night. They made it to London and had an early morning departure to Hazard this morning.

A total of 32 members from NKY are currently deployed.

An 11-person response team of Covington firefighters are on the scene in Eastern Kentucky, as well, having loaded up the inflatable ‘Zodiac’ watercraft. Their mission is to rescue people trapped in houses, stranded in cars and cut off from safety. They reported in to a National Guard Armory in Hazard on Friday.

The Covington Fire Department’s Zodiac watercraft

The NKY team also send nine other swift-rescue techs and two other watercraft from departments in Alexandria, Hebron, and Union.

Beshear said today that President Joe Biden — with the endorsement of Kentucky’s congressional delegation — has approved his request for federal aid to assist with recovery efforts is 13 Eastern Kentucky counties devastated by historic flooding.

Sixteen Kentuckians in four courties have been confirmed dead and that number is growing.

The emergency is ongoing and in some areas, water will not crest until tomorrow.

There are approximately 23,000 power outages reported. Large military vehicles are transporting individuals to shelters. At least 14 counties and three cities have declared local states of emergency.

“We are currently experiencing one of the worst, most devastating flooding events in Kentucky’s history,” Beshear said. “The situation is dynamic and ongoing, and in most places, we are not seeing receding water. In fact, in most places it has not crested yet.”

He announced late Thursday that he would be touring the flood damaged areas via helicopter today and would have more to say after that.

Gov. Andy Beshear ordered Kentucky National Guard units and other state agencies to participate in rescue and recovery efforts in Eastern Kentucky. (Photo from Floyd County Sheriff, via Kentucky Today)

The full impact is not yet known, but Beshear expressed some of his expectations.

“What we’re going to see coming out of this is massive property damage. We expect a loss of life. Hundreds will lose their homes, and this is going to be yet another event that it’s going to take not months but likely years for many families to rebuild and recover.”

The Governor announced that he has ordered Kentucky National Guard units and other state agencies to participate in rescue and recovery efforts – and had this message for eastern Kentucky residents: “We are going to be there for you. We want to help.”

In addition, Beshear said three Kentucky State Parks in the area will house those people forced from their homes, Jenny Wiley, Buckhorn and Pine Mountain.

23,000 Kentuckians statewide are without power, not just in the east, according to Beshear, although they are experiencing the most outages. The state is also bringing in water to residents whose local water systems are out of service, due to the flooding

Kentucky National Guard Adjutant General Hal Lamberton said his units have been preparing for deployment since Wednesday afternoon, while others are already on scene. “We have aviation assets in the impacted area now, and we have others that are enroute.”

Beshear said counties that have already declared states of emergency as of Thursday morning include Floyd, Breathitt, Clay, Owsley, Letcher, and Pike, adding.

“We probably have not seen the worst of it, sadly.”

Meantime, Kentucky Sports Radio and the Kentucky Chamber Foundation have partnered to build a relief fund committed to helping rebuild community impacted by the flooding. The two organizations will work with locall communities and chambers, as well as state and local officials, to ensure the needs of the communities are met in the wak of the tragedy.

The Kentucky Chamber Foundation is a public charity and donations to it are eligible for tax deduction.

Click here to donate.

The Governor has also established a Flood Relieft Donation Portal so that the public can make tax-deductible donations online.

Kentucky Today and staff report

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