Kentucky leaders visit EKY to tour flood damage, share updates

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Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 11:01 AM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Several Eastern Kentucky leaders were in the region Tuesday to tour areas affected by flooding and visit relief centers.

Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell were both in the region touring relief centers and affected areas.

During his stop in Hazard, Senator Paul was joined by Representative Chris Fugate at Gospel Light Baptist Church.

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Paul visited the donation site, where he met with volunteers and flood survivors.

“People in Eastern Kentucky are resilient and I think we’ll see them bounce back. We’re here for the long haul. Not only is the church here for the long haul, we are too,” said Johnny Mullins, from Breathitt County.

Paul said Eastern Kentuckians are resilient. He also applauded volunteer efforts.

“It is heartwarming to see the members of this church coming forwards” he added. “One gentleman, we just met, has been out here every day, all day long doing this.”

Senator Paul said he plans to send a letter to President Joe Biden and Governor Andy Beshear asking them to allow COVID-19 relief money to be used during disasters so communities can use it to start rebuilding.

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“They have some money that’s already been sent for COVID,” he said. “They may think the water system’s more pressing right now than testing for COVID.”

You can watch Paul’s visit to Hazard below.

Governor Andy Beshear held a news conference to update people in the Commonwealth on the Eastern Kentucky flooding aftermath.

He said there are still 37 confirmed deaths due to flooding, with two people missing in Breathitt County.

The Governor also said 197 people are staying in emergency shelters and 315 are staying in state parks. Beshear added 77 trailers have been delivered to the area.

You can watch the conference below.

Senator Mitch McConnell was also in Eastern Kentucky Tuesday to see areas and people affected by flooding.

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One of his stops was in Neon, one of the hardest hit areas of Letcher County. The Senator said it was devastating to see the damage in the area, but it was also encouraging to see how positive the response has been from people helping the region recover.

“These kind of catastrophes, as awful as they are, brings out the best in everyone, the very best in everyone,” said McConnell. “We are so grateful for your hope and your optimism. I want to tell you from a federal government point of view, state government is involved as well - deeply involved. But from the federal government point of view, we are going to be here until the job is finished, no matter how long that takes.”

The Senator also said, while it is easy to focus on the mountains of wreckage left by the flood, Kentucky can also be grateful for the mountains of resources being given to the area.

Senator McConnell also stopped at the Knott County Sportsplex to speak with media.

You can watch his remarks below.

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