Kentucky floods’ death toll stands at 26 as Beshear expects to be ‘finding bodies for weeks’

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At least 26 people have died in devastating floods that ripped through eastern Kentucky and the death toll is only expected to rise, the state’s governor Andy Beshear said Sunday.

“I know of several additional bodies, and we know it’s going to grow,” Beshear said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

“With the level of water, we’re going to be finding bodies for weeks, many of them swept hundreds of yards, maybe a quarter mile plus from where they were lost,” he continued.

The National Guard has been deployed to conduct door-to-door rescues, the Democratic governor said, adding that soldiers are trying to find “as many people as we can.”

“We still can’t get into some areas to check on people,” Beshear said, adding the forecast for Sunday bringing more rain to the region is hindering their abilities to help those stranded.

Governor Andy Beshear.
“We know it’s going to grow,” Gov. Andy Beshear said about the death toll.
NBC News/Meet the Press
Children.
Four children, siblings who were swept away from their parents in the flood waters, are among the dead.
http://www.kentucky.com
A house destroyed by heavy rain-caused flooding in Central Appalachia in Kentucky.
A house destroyed by flooding in Central Appalachia in Kentucky.
Wang Changzheng/Xinhua via ZUMA Press
A house and vehicles destroyed by heavy rain-caused flooding in Central Appalachia in Kentucky.
More rain in the region is hindering rescue teams’ abilities to help those stranded.
Wang Changzheng/Xinhua via ZUMA Press

“We’re even going to work through the rain. But the weather is complicating it.”

So far, four children are among the dead, the governor said, referencing the young siblings who were swept away from their parents in ferocious flood waters Thursday.

“I fear that we’ll find at least a couple more as well,” he added.

One of the issues facing rescuers in the rural area is that authorities don’t have an accurate headcount of how many people live in each community.

“We have multiple Kentucky state police posts that are taking calls from loved ones that can’t connect with those that they are worried about,” Beshear said.

The flood is proving to be one of the worst in recent Kentucky history, and the governor said preventing future floods will take “major federal investment.”

A rescue team member evacuates residents from their homes in a boat through flooded streets in Breathitt County.
A rescue team member evacuates residents from their homes through flooded streets in Breathitt County.
via REUTERS
Kentucky National Guard helicopter crew members carry a person to safety from a flooded area.
Kentucky National Guard helicopter crew members carry a person to safety from a flooded area.
US Army National Guard/Handout via REUTERS
A flooded area is flown over by a Kentucky National Guard helicopter.
Rescue crews are struggling to locate people in rural areas because they lack an accurate headcount of residents in the community.
US Army National Guard/Handout via REUTERS
A valley lies flooded as seen from a helicopter.
The flood is proving to be one of the worst in recent Kentucky history.
Office of Governor Andy Beshear/Handout via REUTERS



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