At least 16 people died in what the authorities cataloged as the “worst flooding in Kentucky history“, a figure that could increase since this Friday it did not stop raining in this rural state in the center of the United States.
President Joe Biden declared the state of “natural disaster“and mobilized federal reinforcements to support the areas affected by the storm, the floods, the landslides and the mud rivers.
Torrential rains slammed into eastern Kentucky Wednesday night, turning roads into rivers and forcing residents to take refuge on the roofs of their houses while waiting for help.
Others were trped by rising waters or were swept away when they were inside cars. The number of victims is “devastatingGovernor Andy Beshear told CNN.
“Bad news: 16 confirmed deaths now and there will be many more“, he stated at a press conference. He estimates that hundreds of people lost everything and it will take at least a year to rebuild it.
Four brothers, aged between one and a half and eight years old, were swept away by the waters when they had taken refuge in the top of a tree with their parents. The bodies of two of them were found, according to the local Lexington Herald Leader.
Their cousin Brittany Trejo told the newsper that the parents managed to hold them for hours, but a big wave swept them away. An 82-year-old woman also drowned while trying to get to safety, authorities said.
Emergency services, including the National Guard, the police and reinforcements from neighboring states, come to the aid of the victims.
Some were made 50 aerial rescues and hundreds from boats, according to Beshear. But there is so much water and the currents are so strong “we can’t get to all of them.”
It is expected to continue raining until this Friday night, for which the flood alert is maintained.
Officials called the disaster the “worst flooding in Kentucky history.” AFP photo
With human-induced global warming, the atmosphere holds more water vor, increasing the chances of heavy rain, scientists explain.
These rains, associated with other factors, such as urbanization of the land, favor flooding.
Some areas of Kentucky recorded a 20 centimeters of rain in 24 hours and, in some places, the waters of the rivers suddenly rose several meters and overflowed their banks.
The neighbors had to take refuge on the roofs of their houses to save their lives. Photo AFP
In the Jackson region, some roads turned into creeks, with abandoned cars here and there.
In these small valleys surrounded by forests, the muddy water flooded the land from which, in some places, only the roofs of the houses and the trees protruded.
Thousands of people remain without electricity or running water. Shelters have been opened in gyms, churches and parks.
“These are the worst floods in Kentucky history and they come after the worst tornadoes in Kentucky history,” the governor lamented.
In December, dozens of tornadoes hit five states in the central United States, especially Kentucky, killing at least 79 people.
Joe Biden then said that weather events have become “more intense” with global warming.
With information from AFP