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Bracing for more rain in Eastern Kentucky

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Posted at 10:58 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 11:04:54-04

KNOTT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — As the death toll continues to rise and local leaders assess the damage, Eastern Kentuckians prepare for more rain.

Jaqueline Line dug through piles of clothes at the Knott County Sports Complex on Monday looking for clothes for her two children.

Their clothes were ruined in the flooding, along with parts of their home. Yet Line stays hopeful, sympathizing with others who have it even worse.

"I am a little bit more fortunate than some of the others, so you know I'm blessed," she said.

With more rain on the way, Line and her family visited the distribution site to grab supplies before they potentially got stuck in their neighborhood. She lives right next to a body of water.

"I am in my first home that me and my husband have built together so it's kinda hard to see what I put all my hard sweat and blood into and lose it but with this, it has really helped," said Line.

Knott County Judge Executive Jeff Dobson says 3,300 people in the county are without water and 3,100 are still without power.

Congressman Hal Rogers visited distribution centers and flood relief centers in Knott, Perry, and Letcher Counties to access the damage.

"I wanted to survey the FEMA, the federal group that is helping with recovery. I'll be talking with the secretary of Homeland Security," said Rogers.

Rogers says from what he's seen there is a need for more personnel to help process people's applications for aid and help more trying to recover.

He talked to National guardsmen and listened to stories from several flood victims to find out what and where the need is. Rogers says the biggest thing he saw on Monday was how much love people had for each other and their community.

"There's a lot of people hurting but they don't let on," Rogers.

An example of that community support was seen in Perry County where the Circle Restaurant was determined to keep feeding its community despite its own challenges.

"We're struggling to say the least," said owner Bruce Melton.

The restaurant has been without consistent water for days. Several staff members were also out of work due to damage to their homes. Operating on bare bones, they refused to close. They've been getting by using paper and plastic utensils.

"Just doing the best we can, you know, there are some people that don't have electricity or water and they're really looking for something to eat," said Melton.

While he navigates how to feed people, Melton is also dealing with a massive sinkhole just feet from the building. He says the saturation of the flood water eroded the riverbank in several spots along KY 550.

"I guess, basically, the river took back what it had," said Melton. "I don't know if there's anything we can do about that."

Melton says he and other businesses along the river fear another heavy rain will be even worse.

"I would be afraid that the river would take even more than it has may even take my building. I can visualize that happening," said Melton.

Still, he hasn't requested help. He's hoping people first help other community members in worse situations.