Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said on Friday that at least 16 people, including at least six children, had died amid what he described as “devastating” flooding in the state and warned officials still could not reach certain areas.
“There are people out there all across Kentucky and America that are scared because they can’t reach their relatives with cell phone service down, thousands without power, water systems overwhelmed. So we are still in search and rescue for what is an ongoing disaster,” Beshear told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer during an interview.
The Kentucky Democrat warned that officials were anticipating the death toll would double, saying that while it was at 16, they understood the number would ultimately be higher.
He said it would take years for the affected communities to rebuild again, with this disaster coming less than a year after the state was impacted by tornadoes and storms. He noted he had also been in contact with President Biden, who offered the administration’s help over the flooding.
“I don’t want to lose another Kentucky. We have lost far too many,” Beshear said. “Right not, I want to make sure that the conversation that I focus on is of the loss that our families have suffered, but that they also know that we’re going to be there to help them rebuild and as we rebuild, we rebuild stronger.”
Biden earlier on Friday approved a disaster declaration for Kentucky to allow federal assistance to be channeled to the state.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the magnitude of flooding seen in the state, which comes as Kentucky has seen a much as eight to 10 inches of rainfall, is considered to have a one in 1,000 chance of happening.