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Death toll rises in Kentucky flood disaster, crews continue recovery

Governor Beshear says Kentucky State Police are still searching for two women in Breathitt County who have been missing since the flooding began.

Joseph Garcia, Associated Press, Sarah Magin

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Published: 12:15 PM EDT July 28, 2022
Updated: 4:43 PM EDT August 11, 2022

Weeks after deadly flooding in eastern Kentucky, the death toll continues to rise but Governor Andy Beshear says crews are likely out of the emergency response phase of the disaster.

In total, 39 people have been confirmed dead. One of the latest deaths was of an 18-year-old teen who fell ill and died while helping with flood recovery efforts. 

The majority of those who died were from Knott County, where four children died.

Beshear said on Aug. 11 that Kentucky State Police are still looking for two women in Breathitt County who have been missing since the flooding began on July 28. 

They have been identified as 60-year-old Vanessa Baker and 29-year-old Nancy Cundiff. Both women were last seen in Lost Creek.

"Continue to pray for the families that have suffered an unfathomable loss, some have lost almost everyone in their household," the governor previously said.

Beshear says as of Aug. 11, 483 people are being house in temporary shelters. Another 321 displaced Kentuckians are in state parks.

More than 1,400 people have been rescued by boat and helicopter, and fourteen counties and three cities have declared emergencies. 

Due to storms on Wednesday in the region, Beshear says power outages slightly increased to 749.

He said there are roughly 6,300 households and businesses without water, there are more than 35,000 under a boil water advisory. 

"When you look at the level of damage they are being restored, they are being restored at a pace that is nothing short than remarkable," he said.

Following the disaster, Beshear quickly launched the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund to help flood survivors as they work to rebuild. 

As of Aug. 11, over $5.2 million has been raised to help survivors.

Donations help with food, shelter and other necessities of life and go towards any emergency funds that come into the area.

The governor said the first expenditure will be for providing money to the families who have lost loved ones so they can have funerals.

"The least we ought to be able to do is grieve together," he said. "It's the least we can do, is to be there with these folks in this incredibly difficult time."

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