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Person cleaning up from flooding in Pike County has died, pushing Ky.’s death toll to 40

Lexington Herald-Leader logo Lexington Herald-Leader 9/13/2022 Karla Ward, Lexington Herald-Leader
Buildings and roads are flooded near Lost Creek, Ky., Thursday, July 28, 2022. © Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS Buildings and roads are flooded near Lost Creek, Ky., Thursday, July 28, 2022.

More than six weeks after historic flooding devastated Eastern Kentucky, the death toll is still rising.

Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday that the flood has claimed its 40th victim, a person who was cleaning up in Pike County.

“Each of these individuals is a child of God, and we mourn with all of their loved ones and all of Eastern Kentucky,” Beshear said in a news release.

In a bit of good news, Beshear announced the first allocation from a state fund set up to help with recovery. He said $1.28 million will be split between Knott and Letcher counties, including $531,000 to each county’s fiscal court “to ease strained fiscal liquidity.” Letcher County will also receive $220,000 for a flood plain coordinator.

He said Knott and Letcher were the first counties to apply and be accepted to receive help from the Eastern Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies Fund, a $212.7 million fund approved by the legislature during a special session last month.

Beshear said the state is eager to distribute the money to cities, counties, utilities and school districts as they clean up and rebuild, and he said Knott and Letcher counties can apply for additional funding.

Beshear’s office said Kentucky Emergency Management is working with the communities affected by the floods to make sure they submit applications for projects that will meet the eligibility requirements.

“Emergency management is committed to ensuring that the EKSAFE funds are properly distributed to provide applicants the most benefit in conjunction with other forms of flood relief assistance,” KYEM Director Jeremy Slinker said in the news release. “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide additional aid to those impacted by the storms to strengthen their recovery efforts.”

Beshear’s office said the governor has also asked President Joe Biden to amend the federal disaster declaration for the flooding event to increase the federal share of the cost of the cleanup.

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