Record-setting rainfall in south and eastern Kentucky has left at least 37 dead and trapped thousands more inside their homes. Search and rescue efforts are still underway, and some people remain cut off by washed-out roads and mudslides.
President Biden declared a federal disaster for counties flooded after 8 to 10.5 inches of rain fell in just 48 hours in parts of eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia and western Virginia.
While the rain is tapering off, the area faces a new threat – surviving the heat in areas without power. The disaster knocked out essential power and water utilities, which repair crews have been struggling to restore because of dangerous conditions and washed-out roads.
“It’s going to get really, really hot. And that is now our new weather challenge,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said at his Tuesday morning briefing on the disaster. Cooling stations are being set up in buildings that were spared the floods, Beshear said.
Heart to Heart International deployed a response team, including our mobile medical van and disaster response truck, and sent almost 7,000 Hygiene Kits to help communities in the affected areas.
The team is supporting the hard work of medical providers at Appalachian Regional Healthcare. The HHI team drove our FedEx-sponsored medical van out into the field so the medical staff could provide wellness checks to home bound patients, administer tetanus vaccines, and assist with check ups at a shelter.
“The need in this area is significant,” said Mark Gleeson with HHI. “These patients live in very remote areas, but the Appalachian Regional Healthcare staff know their patients’ healthcare needs but either have not heard from them, or the patients are not able to get to medical care on their own.” The medical van allows the medical professionals to reach those who need it.