FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear has issued a state of emergency because of the flooding in Eastern Kentucky, calling it one of the most significant and deadly floods ever seen in the commonwealth.
“There are going to be a lot of people that need our help,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of people that are going to be displaced, and this is yet another disaster that is going to take some time to rebuild.”
Beshear said he’s coordinating efforts with local emergency management officials, as well as surrounding states and FEMA to get more help in the area. They’re trying to get more boats on the water and more crews in the air to get people out of flooded areas.
Kentucky Adjutant General Hal Lamberton said some of these moves are to get ahead of even more rain tonight.
“Provide more resources, not just waiting until there’s an incident or an event that requires some sort of response to it, but pushing resources to the impacted area that we can be even more responsive than we currently are,” Lamberton said.
Beshear also addressed climate change during his regular Team Kentucky update on Thursday since multiple groups, including the U.S. government’s National Climate Assessment, show heavy rain in Eastern Kentucky is anywhere from 20 to 40 percent more likely than in 1900.
He said climate change is real and more investments need to be made to deal with it, but it’s tough to talk about it as the flooding continues.
“I wish I could tell you why we keep getting hit here in Kentucky. I wish I could tell you why areas where people may not have that much continue to get hit and lose everything,” he said. “I can’t give you the why, but I know what we do in response to it, and the answer is everything we can. These are our people; let’s make sure we help them out.”
Beshear said it’s too early to talk about state-coordinated supply drives or toy drives like they did in Western Kentucky after the tornadoes, but supplies are needed, especially drinking water and cleaning supplies. People interested in donating those should start collecting them now.
Beshear also set up a donation fund to help with relief efforts. More details are available at TeamEKYFloodReliefFund.ky.gov.