Philadelphia-area volunteers arrive in Kentucky to assist with devastating floods

A total of 28 people have been confirmed dead, but that number is expected to increase again, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said.

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Monday, August 1, 2022
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The death toll in the devastating flooding that hit eastern Kentucky is continuing to rise as more rain threatens the region, according to officials.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The death toll in the devastating flooding that hit eastern Kentucky is continuing to rise as more rain threatens the region, according to officials.

A total of 28 people have been confirmed dead, but that number is expected to increase again, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Sunday afternoon. The death toll includes at least four children, Beshear said.

A handful of local American Red Cross volunteers have just arrived in Kentucky. With more rain expected this week, they fear things could get worse.

"It depends a lot on how much more rain we're going to get. It's hard to get stable footing until you get beyond the storm," said Mary Noll, the national fleet operations administrator with the American Red Cross.

Noll left Philadelphia and arrived to rain in Kentucky roughly 24 hours ago. She says things are chaotic down there because they are still in the early stages of assessing the damage while also conducting search and rescue missions.

SEE ALSO: Death toll rises to 26 as Kentucky remains in search and rescue mode after fatal flood

Crews have been able to rescue more than 1,400 people, but still many are missing.

Certain areas are hard to get to and several cell towers have been destroyed. It's making communication and navigation more challenging for volunteers.

"We have to make sure we have paper copies of maps and directions before we leave to go places because you can't use Google Maps and Waze," said Noll.

Joining Noll is Heidi Dampman who landed on Sunday.

Dampman didn't hesitate to take off work to help those who've lost everything.

"I took off to come out and do this because I care about people, and Mary, she does too," said Dampman.

They were told this wasn't going to be an easy deployment, but they know Kentucky needs all the help they can get.

"Keep people down here in Kentucky in your prayers because they're still suffering. You get knocked down once, you stand up; you get knocked down a second time, you stand up. It's kind of tough to get hit a third time," said Noll.

Governor Tom Wolf announced Sunday that one member of Pennsylvania Task Force 1 (PA-TF1) Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) has deployed to Kentucky.

"It will take years for survivors to recover from the destruction of entire communities, and those who lost their lives will never be forgotten," Gov. Wolf said. "Pennsylvania stands ready to assist now in the immediate aftermath, and in the weeks and months to come by providing whatever support we can."

So far nine shelters with the Red Cross are set up, but more could be coming while search and rescue efforts continue.

A big part of their day Monday will be determining how much food they need to order for the survivors.

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