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National Guard searches for survivors as death toll rises in Eastern Kentucky flooding

The death toll is rising after 15 downpour rains flooded Eastern Kentucky, resulting in the destruction of communities and hundreds of homes

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear in the background as the National Guard address press
El gobernador de Kentucky, Andy Beshear (al fondo), mientras la Guardia Nacional se dirige a la prensa | Gov. Andy Beshear/Flickr

July 29, 2022 9:48am

Updated: July 29, 2022 5:04pm

The death toll in Kentucky is rising after 15 downpour rains flooded Eastern Kentucky, resulting in the destruction of communities and hundreds of homes, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

National Guardsmen and local search and rescue teams frantically hunted for those missing Friday morning and the governor declared a state of emergency.

In a Twitter video aimed at reaching Kentuckians, Beshear said that government officials believe children were also killed as a result of the floods, and the death toll expected to “probably more than double.”

“We know some of the loss will include children,” Beshear said in the video. “We may have even lost entire families.”

Authorities expect more flooding throughout Friday afternoon, evening and even the weekend as more rain continued to pour into the state Wednesday night and Thursday. More than 200 people have reportedly sought shelter, according to Beshar.

The Kentucky governor said it will be "tough" to pinpoint how many people are missing since electricity and cell service are experiencing interruptions. Authorities believe more than 23,000 residents are without electricity and several counties cannot access water.

“In a word, this event is devastating, and I do believe it will end up being one of the most significant deadly floods that we have had in Kentucky in at least a very long time,” the governor said Thursday.

“Towns and cities reported having been hit the hardest are Hazard, Jackson, Garrett, Salyersville, Booneville, Whitesburg and the rest of Perry County,” according to USA Today.

“The stretch of the Kentucky River in Jackson reached the highest it has ever been, at 43.2 feet, according to the National Weather Service in Jackson as of 6 a.m. Friday. That mark broke a record set in 1939 when the height of the river reached 43.1 feet,” the national newspaper reported.