The death toll has risen to 25 after devastating floods in Kentucky

The death toll has risen to 25 after devastating floods in Kentucky

The death toll from flooding in Kentucky continues to rise. “It has risen to twenty-five dead, and that number is likely to increase”said the governor of this American state on Saturday, July 30, while the previous report reported that sixteen were dead.

“Unfortunately I believe we will find the bodies within weeks”added the governor, a Democrat, as torrential rains lashed the east of this rural state overnight from Wednesday into Thursday, turning some roads into rivers and forcing residents to take refuge on their roofs. home while waiting for help.

Mr Beshear said four children had died in the flood, not six as previously reported. According to the local newspaper Leader of the Lexington Heraldthey are four brothers and sisters, ranging from 1 year and a half to 8 years, who were swept away by the water while they took refuge at the top of a tree with their parents.

Also read: United States: at least sixteen dead after “devastating” floods in Kentucky

Mobile phone services will no longer work

A neighborhood near the flooded Kentucky River, in the United States, on July 28, 2022.

The governor noted that it is still difficult to estimate the number of missing, as mobile phone services are down in the worst affected areas and people who have escaped the downpour cannot rely on their phones. family.

The President of the United States Joe Biden declared a state of natural disaster and released federal reinforcements to support the areas affected by the “the storm, the flood, the landslide and the mudslide”.

National Guard reservists have carried out 650 evacuations by helicopter since Wednesday, while state security services have carried out 750 by boat, according to Beshear, who emphasized that the operations “very stressful and difficult” for rescuers. Fifteen reception centers were opened in schools, churches and natural parks.

Twenty centimeters of rain in twenty four hours

In the area around Jackson, some roads turned into rivers, with abandoned cars here and there. At the bottom of small valleys surrounded by forests, the land was flooded on Thursday with light brown muddy water that left only the roofs of buildings and trees sticking out in some places. Parts of Kentucky received 20 centimeters of rain in twenty-four hours.

Rain stopped on Saturday in the region, but more rain is expected on Sunday, which could cause new logistical problems for rescuers, who will find it difficult to get around because many roads are blocked, bridges are not available and the water level is still very high. “Our problem will be Sunday”Mr. Beshear confirmed to CNN. “It’s going to start raining again and even though we don’t think it’s going to be a historic rain, it’s going to be difficult. »

Extreme weather events

In addition, hot weather is expected next week and thousands of homes are without electricity and, therefore, air conditioning, but also drinking water. The authorities are getting ready to set up “new centers” with portable generators for the most vulnerable, and water distribution.

These floods are the latest manifestations of extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent with human-induced global warming. Last December, dozens of violent tornadoes ravaged five states in the central United States, mostly in Kentucky, and killed at least seventy-nine people.

Paradoxically, these tornadoes have helped Kentucky better prepare for natural disasters, the governor said. “We learned a lot of lessons in Western Kentucky with those devastating tornadoes seven months ago”, he declared. Caravans that temporarily relocated victims of last winter’s tornadoes have been sent to the east of the state, where they should arrive soon.

In pictures, in pictures: In the United States, devastated landscapes after the passage of deadly tornadoes in the center and south of the country

The World with AFP

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