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Death toll rising following Kentucky flooding

Nearly half a million tons of debris have been removed from roadsides and waterways in the region.

Joseph Garcia, Associated Press, Sarah Magin

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Published: 12:15 PM EDT July 28, 2022
Updated: 3:20 PM EST December 22, 2022

Months after deadly flooding eastern Kentucky over the summer, Governor Andy Beshear said the death toll has now risen to 44 across six counties.

The majority of those who died were from Knott County, where four children died.

Beshear said the latest death was a Letch County woman, May Amburgey, 97.

A photo of Amburgey sitting in her flooded bedroom had gone viral in the aftermath of the storm. 

"Her death was related to this disaster," the governor said on Dec. 22. "Our thoughts are with her loved ones."

Beshear said the state's sheltering program has 266 households in eastern Kentucky in travel trailers provided through the program.

55 people are still sheltering at state parks, "that continues to go down from our height of 360," he said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is still operating in the region and nearly half a million tons of debris have been removed from roadsides and waterways.

"Continue to pray for the families that have suffered an unfathomable loss, some have lost almost everyone in their household," Beshear said previously.

More than 1,400 people were rescued by boat and helicopter. Fourteen counties and three cities declared emergencies. 

Following the disaster, Beshear quickly launched the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund to help flood survivors as they work to rebuild. 

As of December 2022, over $13 million has been raised to help survivors. Over $4.3 million has been dispersed.

Donations help with food, shelter and other necessities of life and go towards any emergency funds that come into the area.

The governor said the first expenditure will be for providing money to the families who have lost loved ones so they can have funerals.

"The least we ought to be able to do is grieve together," he said. "It's the least we can do, is to be there with these folks in this incredibly difficult time."

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