Kentucky flooding: Red Cross volunteers from Philadelphia area assisting with rescue operations | How to help

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The death toll from the devastating floods in eastern Kentucky continues to rise, officials said, as more rain threatens the region.

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

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

“It depends a lot on how much more rain we’re going to get. It’s hard to get a steady footing until you’ve weathered the storm,” said Mary Noll, the national fleet operations manager for the American Red Cross.

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

The crews were able to save more than 1,400 people, but many are still missing.

Certain areas are difficult to access and several cell phone towers have been destroyed. It makes communication and navigation more difficult for volunteers.

“We need to make sure we have paper copies of maps and directions before we head out to visit places because you can’t use Google Maps and Waze,” Noll said.

Noll is joined by Heidi Dampman, who landed on Sunday.

Dampman did not hesitate to stop work to help those who lost everything.

“I moved out to get out and do that because I care about people and Mary cares about her,” Dampman said.

They were told this would not be an easy mission, but they know Kentucky needs all the help they can get.

“Keep the people of Kentucky in your prayers that they are still suffering. You get knocked down, as soon as you stand up you get knocked down a second time. It’s tough to get hit a third time,” Noll said.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Sunday that a member of the Pennsylvania Task Force 1 (PA-TF1) Urban Search & Rescue (U.S&R) has been dispatched 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 help now immediately thereafter and in the coming weeks and months by providing any assistance we can.”

Nine emergency shelters have been set up with the Red Cross so far, but more may be added as search and rescue efforts continue.

A large part of their day on Monday will determine how much food they need to order for the survivors.

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