Long days grind on search teams in flood-ravaged Appalachia

Hindman, Ky.: Nearly a week since floodwaters consumed parts of Appalachia, rescue missions are winding down while supplies poured into what looms as a massive relief effort. Floodwaters wrecked homes and businesses, and some escaped the surging waters with only the clothes they wore.

Initial expenditures from a relief fund opened by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear were being distributed to pay funeral expenses of flood victims. The statewide death toll is 37, Beshear said.

Temperatures surged as people continued shoveling out from the wreckage. The rising heat and humidity meant heat index values were near 100 Wednesday, a steam bath that will continue through Thursday evening, the National Weather Service said.

For days, a search-and-rescue team led by Phillip Dix has combed debris-clogged creekbanks looking for survivors in flood-ravaged eastern Kentucky. His crew is used to the stifling heat and humidity but is laboring under the grind of 12-hour shifts pulling people from danger.

The scope of the devastation and the conversations with people who lost everything keeps the rescuers going, said Dix, who leads the Memphis, Tennessee-based team. “You can’t just turn that switch off when you’re talking to someone who’s lost everything they had,” Dix said Wednesday.

Image courtesy of (Image Courtesy: Plainview Herald)

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