KENTUCKY, USA — President Joe Biden visited eastern Kentucky Monday to meet with families and first responders after historic flooding caused massive damage to the southeastern part of the state.
So far, 38 people have been confirmed dead and many more are feared missing.
For the past week, Indiana Task Force 1 has been helping state agencies in searching more than a thousand structures and rescuing dozens of stranded residents and animals.
“It’s very devastating. They have lost everything — cars, homes, all their personal belongings,” said Jay Settergren, leader of Indiana Task Force 1. “The pictures don’t do it justice. When you see it in real life, you also see the effect on the folks that live here.”
Right now, Settergren said his team is on standby as they brace for more heavy rain in the area, with predictions up to several inches.
“Right now, you wouldn’t know that we had any bad weather. It’s actually a very, pretty sunny morning, but they are anticipating storms by this afternoon and definitely into the evening tonight,” he said.
In the meantime, the 59-person team has been doing trainings and testing equipment as they wait for their next assignment.
Indiana’s task force is one of the many FEMA teams helping. Settergren said work can become intense with homes severely damaged and others completely gone.
“When you see an area that is basically wiped out that’s 30 feet high and maybe 200 to 300 yards wide, I mean it’s massive water running down to those valleys,” he said. “To see truly how much water moves through there and listening to the accounts of how fast it happened, it must’ve been just horrific.”
The unpredictable weather is leaving many communities on edge as search teams brace for another possible busy week.
At 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Indianapolis Fire Department spokesperson Rita Reith said the team has been demobilized after a long, successful deployment and is on its way back to Indianapolis.
Reita said Indiana Task Force 1 is expected to be back Thursday, Aug. 11 at 4 p.m. ET.