Remembering flooding one year later
Published 12:49 pm Thursday, July 27, 2023
BY TOM LATEK
Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the deadly flooding in eastern Kentucky, and while political leaders say they are pleased with the recovery process, much more remains to be done.
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Gov. Andy Beshear described the event: “Days of unrelenting, record-breaking, previously unimaginable amounts of rain fell on eastern Kentucky communities, resulting in the deadliest, most destructive flooding in any of our lifetimes. Many of our eastern Kentucky families lost everything: their homes, their belongings, everything but the clothes on their backs. Heartbreakingly, it took 45 of our fellow Kentuckians. Each one a child of God, irreplaceable to their families and their communities.”
Beshear said the destruction was hard to put into words. “We were on the ground immediately, and it was clear that this would be the toughest rebuild I believe this country has ever seen. We’ve seen it time and time again. Kentuckians are strong and resilient, but even more, they are compassionate and kind. During and after the flooding, we saw Kentuckians coming together, neighbors helping neighbors. Folks opening their homes and their hearts to those in need.”
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor in Washington, to mark the anniversary of the tragedy, and told his colleagues what he saw. “Roads turned to rapids. Neighborhoods were swept away overnight. And families were left stranded. In communities like Lost Creek, where I stood with Jackson Mayor Laura Thomas, not a single home was left untouched.”
But it wasn’t just the one community the Louisville Republican toured. “From Lost Creek to communities in Pike, Letcher, Knott and Breathitt, I saw similar scenes of devastation and heard the painful stories of families displaced by the floods. But in the face of devastation, Kentucky’s first responders rushed to help neighbors in their time of need.”
McConnell summed up his remarks by adding, “Last year’s tragedy tested Eastern Kentucky’s resolve. And today, there is still work to be done. But Kentuckians are resilient. We rise up to big challenges. And I will continue to work with folks in Eastern Kentucky to build their communities back even stronger than before.”
Through the efforts of officials like Beshear and McConnell, over $281 million in federal funding from agencies such as FEMA and the SBA, has been pumped into eastern Kentucky over the past year to support individuals, families, communities and businesses as the region recovers from the disaster.