EKY county leaders gather Wednesday for news conference

((Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal via AP) | (Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal via AP))
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:51 AM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Thursday marks one week since many Eastern Kentucky families were startled awake by rushing flood waters. The devastating flooding destroyed neighborhoods, homes, roads, and bridges.

As of Wednesday night, the death toll stands at 37, but officials in Hazard says 16 people are still missing in Perry County alone. Governor Andy Beshear says three women are still unaccounted for in Breathitt County.

Lawmakers from around the mountains gathered at the Wendell Ford Airport in Perry County for a news conference following an aerial tour of the damage.

“It’s just devastation that you can’t imagine until you get up there in the helicopter like we did today,” Sen. Johnnie Turner (R-Harlan) said.

Rep. Chris Fugate (R-Chavies) called the damage “unimaginable.”

“It’s like bombs went off in all of our counties,” Rep. Fugate said. “But you know looking at the people is what is really hurtful.”

Rep. Fugate told one particularly heartbreaking story of an elderly woman who walked into their shelter.

“Lady, 94 year old, came into our shelter,” Rep. Fugate said. “No shoes, no socks, wet. Rescued by the helicopter and the National Guard.”

Tabatha Collins is one of the many people in the region who are working to make a difference.

“I’ve really never seen anything like it,” Collins said. “On Thursday when it started, I came to work just on a regular day, and they started bringing these people in and there was nothing here. So, we got in the closet we were bringing them coats out trying to comfort them, cover them up, they were so wet.”

Wednesday was another day filled with hope, heartbreak, and resilience.

Officials say there is still much to be done but the outpouring of help has been amazing.

You can watch the entire news conference here:

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11

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