Damage tallies are still growing from the rash of floods and tornadoes that hit Kentucky at the end of May, but so far assessments show storms severely damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes across 26 counties.
Floods wreaked havoc in eastern Kentucky, with Martin County receiving the most damage. Flashfloods damaged or destroyed some 450 homes there. The area affected is one that almost never floods, according to a Martin County emergency management official.
Local churches in the Martin County town of Inez are pitching in. "We're all trying to help each other out," said a parishioner from the Inez Freewill Baptist Church. "Many people are having to either stay with their family and friends or stay at a local shelter."
Magoffin County also experienced significant damage, and close to 100 senior citizens remained in an emergency shelter after their nursing home was flooded.
Tornadoes also flattened homes across western and central Kentucky. In Fayette County, home to Lexington, twisters destroyed 37 homes. Henry County lost 25 homes. The two counties had more than 140 homes severely damaged.
The governor of Kentucky has declared a state of emergency, and state officials await a federal declaration. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is still assessing damages in some areas.
The Kentucky Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (KYVOAD) is helping coordinate the relief groups involved. Representatives from the Kentucky Interchurch Disaster Recovery Program have made contacts in Eminence, a Henry County city heavily damaged by a tornado.
Church World Service (CWS) Disaster Response and Recovery Liaison Lesli Remaly has also been in contact with disaster relief representatives in Kentucky. Remaly is working on fundraising and helping the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee plan for any future need assessments.
Other involved disaster relief groups include the United Methodist Committee on Relief and the United Church of Christ.
Another conference call between FEMA, state and local agencies, and faith-based disaster response representatives will be held tomorrow to continue coordinating disaster recovery efforts.
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