LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear says 16 people have died after flooding in Eastern Kentucky, six of which were children.
The governor says one person died in Perry County, 11 died in Knott County, two died in Letcher County, and two died in Clay County.
Over 330 people are in shelters right now and at least 294 people have been rescued. About 24,000 people are without power and portions of at least 28 roads in Kentucky are blocked.
The governor says three senior living facilities have been fully evacuated and one has been partially evacuated.
President Biden approved a disaster declaration for the Kentucky counties affected by the flooding. They're now working on a request for individual assistance and are working with FEMA.
Residents of Jackson living near the dam should evacuate. Gov. Beshear says the situation looks better, but officials are still concerned.
Officials urge people to not call 911 to report a missing person. There are designated phone numbers/email addresses for those reports. Learn how to report a missing person here.
If Kentuckians have a missing loved one in Breathitt, Knott, Letcher, or Perry counties, please do not call 911. Instead, call Kentucky State Police Post 13 directly at (606) 435-6069 or your local law enforcement agency. Please note phone lines are extremely busy right now and it may take multiple calls to get through.
The governor declared a state of emergency for several southeastern Kentucky counties after severe flooding hit the area overnight Wednesday into Thursday.
At least six counties have declared local states of emergency: Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Letcher, Owsley, and Pike.
"We are currently experiencing one of the worst, most devastating flooding events in Kentucky's history," said Gov. Beshear.
The governor said in many areas, water has not receded, or even crested, at this point. He said they expect a "loss of life" from the floods and expect hundreds to lose their homes.
"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 from," said Gov. Beshear.
Shelters have been set up at Jenny Wiley, Buckhorn, and Pine Mountain State Parks. The flooding has also affected the shelters and may not have electricity, but they will have rooms available to those who need them.
Gov. Beshear said there are a lot of people stranded on roofs waiting to be rescued. The power is out in many areas and truckloads of fresh water are on the way.
The Kentucky National Guard is responding with helicopters and trucks that can move through the water. Several first responders from across the state, including Bell and Harlan counties, are also responding to help neighboring counties with swift water rescues.
"Today across Eastern Kentucky, the impact of last night's rains have devastated our neighbors around us here in Bell County," the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department said.
Perry County Sheriff Joe Engle said crews are out responding to flooded neighborhoods and mobile home communities. Engle said he's been sheriff for four years and in law enforcement for 25 years. He called the flooding "historically unlike anything he has ever seen."
He said most of the agencies are volunteer fire departments. They're hoping the water will recede so they can rescue people that are still trapped.
In Pike County, rescue efforts are still underway as they wait for the water to clear off roadways. Shelby Valley High School has been set up as a temporary shelter. With flooding spread throughout the southern part of the county, crews are unsure how many residents still need assistance out of their homes and how many have already been rescued. The county is experiencing both water and power loss.
If you live in Pike County and need help, you can contact the Judge Executive's Office at (606) 432-6247 or the Office of Emergency Management (606) 432-0210.
Clay County's treasurer said that the damage is pretty much countywide right now, including flooding, downed trees, and power outages. The judge-executive is out with a crew right now but they are down several people who weren't able to come in because of the damage. They have gotten more than 30 calls Thursday morning from people that are stranded and looking to be rescued.
The Lexington Fire Department said they've received a request to send swift water crews to Lost Creek, Kentucky to assist with the flooding in that region. They are sending a team of nine members along with two boats.
Their mission is to rescue up to three people that are trapped in the Riverside Christian school. A tenth member is deploying to the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to assist.