The confirmed death toll from flooding in eastern Kentucky stood at 25 — including 6 children — as of Saturday morning and "is likely to increase," Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced in a tweet.
On Friday, Beshear warned that there were "still a lot of people unaccounted for" and that the communities impacted "may have even lost entire families."
Heavy rainfall began on Wednesday, and by Thursday rescuers were scrambling to retrieve residents from their roofs. According to Beshear, almost 300 people have been saved so far, including about 100 who were rescued by aircraft. Roads and bridges in hard-hit Perry County have been washed out. Data from poweroutage.us showed that over 17,000 households across Kentucky were without electricity as of 4:00 a.m. on Saturday.
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President Biden declared a major disaster on Friday, releasing federal funds to aid local governments and nonprofits and dispatching search and rescue teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Clear weather and a lack of rainfall on Saturday could provide a much-needed window to step up rescue and relief efforts, but more rain is forecasted for Sunday, meaning the situation could get worse before it gets better.
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