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The Kentucky Flood: What You Need to Know and How to Help

On Friday, President Biden declared a major disaster in eastern Kentucky, ordering federal support and resources to the flood-stricken state. Some areas have reported around nine inches of rainfall within a 24 hour period, and at least 26 have died across five counties, with hundreds more still missing.

Other parts of the Appalachia have also been affected, specifically West Virginia. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency on Thursday night amidst the heavy rainfall and flooding. The death toll is currently unknown in West Virginia.

This comes as a shock to many living in the regions affected. “There’s still a lot of people out there. Still a lot of people unaccounted for. We’re going to do our best to find them all,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

The Appalachians have experienced significant flooding before: in 2016, a destructive flood demolished 1,200 homes and took the lives of 23 individuals in West Virginia. More recently, Kentucky experienced a deadly tornado in December 2021, which killed 70 individuals. Scientists believe these extreme weather events are due to climate change, “the increases in the amount of rainfall over the years are consistent with what experts have predicted for the region - that Kentucky's climate would become hotter and wetter due to climate change” (BBC). Why? In simple terms: warmer air leads to more precipitation because it can hold more moisture.

Emergency responders have rescued over 400 people, but are struggling to find missing individuals because of damaged infrastructure and mudslides. Buildings have collapsed, homes have been destroyed, and 18,000+ power outages have been reported.

Flash floods, such as these, are extremely dangerous because they move fast, carry debris, destroy buildings, submerge cars and homes, etc. With the likely rise in natural disasters, it is imperative to be prepared; investing in life vests, staying alert, and never driving during floods are ways to stay safe.

If you are able to, one of the best ways to help is to make a donation to the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund; all proceeds will go to flood victims. This website includes more ways to help:


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