Floods unleashed by torrential rains in eastern Kentucky have killed at least 30 people, including children, Governor Andy Beshear said on Monday, as authorities worked to provide food and shelter for thousands of displaced residents.
The death toll is expected to continue rising, the governor said in a press briefing. He added that authorities know of additional bodies that had been recovered, but they could not confirm those deaths at this time.
"We know of additional bodies beyond these 30 confirmed," the governor said.
"If things weren't hard enough on people of this region, they're getting rain right now," he said, adding there was "severe storm potential" on Monday.
Some homes in the hardest hit areas were swept away after days of heavy rainfall that Beshear has described as some of the worst in the U.S. state's history. Rescue teams guided motor boats through residential and commercial areas searching for victims.
Officials have warned the death toll may continue to rise, with more expected rainfall potentially hampering rescue efforts. The National Weather Service has forecast several rounds of showers and storms through Tuesday.
At least 16 deaths were reported in Knott County alone, including at least four children.
Beshear, who declared a state emergency over the floods, said over the weekend that authorities would "be finding bodies for weeks" as rescuers fan out to more remote areas.
The floods were the second major disaster to strike Kentucky in seven months, following a swarm of tornadoes that claimed nearly 80 lives in the western part of the state in December.
President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Kentucky on Friday, allowing federal funding to be allocated to the state.
Power lines were widely damaged, with over 15,000 reports of outages on Monday morning, according to PowerOutage.US.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, Editing by Mark Potter)