On Thursday, rescue personnel from state agencies and the National Guard were conducting a frantic search for survivors by boat and helicopter. But by Friday evening, the confirmed death toll had risen to 25, with many more still missing. Among the dead so far are at least six children, including four from the same family who clung to a tree, and each other, amid floodwaters after escaping from a mobile home.
The parents of these children, aged 2 to 8, were rescued hours later by a man in a kayak who was looking for stranded neighbors. Still, Brittany Trejo, a relative of the family, told The New York Times, “Water rage took their children out of their hands.”
A bright spot amid the grief and devastation in Kentucky has been the efforts of volunteers across the state to help rescuers find, feed and assist those who remain trapped by flooding or who have taken refuge in churches. and other makeshift shelters.
Early Saturday morning, Joe Arvin, a private chef who has competed in nationally televised cooking contests, was staying up late smoking hundreds of pounds of pork and beef at his home in Lexington, Ky. The meat would fill the roughly 1,000 burritos he planned to deliver to the hard-hit town of Hazard before noon.
Mr Arvin said he expected 20 or 30 volunteers, including some members of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, to arrive at his house at 6 a.m. and start charging. a convoy of vans with supplies — not just burritos, but also the diapers, paper towels, and bottled water Hazard officials had requested. Some of the food and supplies would be delivered to stranded residents by boat.
Mr Arvin, 51, said he had been warned flood waters were still high in the area and some of the bridges between Lexington and Hazard were out of service. But he still planned to make the two and a half hour trip.