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Biden to survey the damage in flood-stricken Kentucky

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

President Biden today visits with families in the mountain communities of eastern Kentucky, where flash flooding killed at least 37 people last month. Countless residents lost their homes. And the damage estimates have climbed into the millions. From member station WUKY, Karyn Czar reports.

KARYN CZAR, BYLINE: In the past 12 days, Mother Nature has sent deadly floods, oppressive heat, off-and-on rain and mudslides that have hampered supply deliveries and cleanup for many eastern Kentuckians. As the days go on, more help arrives. At Jenny Wiley's State Park, Randy Warner, with the Cattlemen's Association, flips burgers on a massive grill that they normally use to feed the crowds at the Kentucky State Fair.

RANDY WARNER: We're farmers. I mean, that's what farmers do. You're going to help out.

(SOUNDBITE OF MACHINE REVVING)

CZAR: All throughout this area, as you drive along the back roads and highways, pop-up tents are in parking lots to shelter volunteers who are helping out. At County Line Community Church outside of Hazard, Pastor Anthony Mullins says attendance is way down. Some have lost their homes. But others, like his aunt, remain missing. Some members of his congregation live in areas where the roads are washed out or are still impassable. The pace of cleanup is improving. President Biden amended Kentucky's disaster declaration, increasing federal funding to 100% of the total eligible costs for a month. Pastor Mullins appreciates the President's visit today. But he worries that support will fade.

ANTHONY MULLINS: We're usually a forgotten region, so we need some help.

CZAR: Samantha Roe (ph), her husband and two children are living in one of the travel trailers supplied by the state for temporary housing. She hopes the area will get money to rebuild.

SAMANTHA ROE: We had to rip our flooring and everything up. And just, like, the little thing - this is a poor community. Like, a lot of people can't afford those things.

CZAR: Nearly all of the power has been restored in this area. Water is another issue. The governor says some pipelines have been wiped out. And it could be months before everyone has running water again.

For NPR News, I'm Karyn Czar in Hindman, Ky.

(SOUNDBITE OF STAN FOREBEE'S "DAY WALK") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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