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At Least 16 People Dead Including Six Children Due to Flooding in Kentucky; Kentucky Flood Victim Describes His Experience and Devastation to Community; Inspector General for Homeland Security Reportedly Knew about Missing Secret Service Text Messages from January 6th, 2021, Earlier than Previously Thought; San Francisco Declares Monkeypox Outbreak Local Health Emergency. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired July 30, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. It's Saturday, July 30th. I'm Sara Sidner.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Boris Sanchez. Do not adjust your screen. That is the Sara Sidner joining us this weekend in the CNN Newsroom. Sara, a pleasure to be with you.
SIDNER: Thanks, Boris.
SANCHEZ: Of course.
Wish we had better news to start with this morning. We begin in Kentucky, the scene of devastating flooding. At least 16 people are dead including six kids, while authorities warn that the death toll is almost certain to rise.
SIDNER: Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says cell service is out in many areas, making it really hard to assess the exact number of those who are missing or deceased. Rushing waters ripped homes off their foundations and wiped out roads across parts of eastern Kentucky. The fast rising flood waters forced a whole lot of people to have to evacuate. The storms caught many folks by surprise because it happened in the middle of the night.
SANCHEZ: And listen to this heartbreaking story out of Knott County. Four kids are dead because they and their parents were forced to climb to the roof of their home to escape rising floodwater. Neighbors say the parents tried to hold onto the little ones, but the children were swept away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY STACY, PERRY COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR: It's hard to put into words the amount of devastation that we've seen. You're talking about some really, really good people here in eastern Kentucky. Don't have a whole lot. And a lot of them have lost everything they've got.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: CNN's Joe Johns joins us live from Hazard, Kentucky. Joe, you showed us the devastation earlier today. How are things at this hour?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I've got to tell you, we're seeing a search and rescue mission that continues and is expected to continue possibly for weeks as the search and rescue personnel, including a lot of volunteers, go into all the nooks and crannies, the hollers, along the streams all over eastern Kentucky, trying to find out how many people may have been killed, how many people are injured, how many people need to be evacuated over to the shelters.
As far as property damage goes, it really just runs the spectrum. And it's fascinating, because you have hundreds of people who have lost their homes, and then you have structures that have gotten major damage but are still standing. A good example here, this general store has been here 50 years. It's still standing, even though the waters came through and did a huge amount of damage. You can see in the distance there, basically took off the floor. And what looks like the inventory of an antiques store, now down on the bank and not much useful to the people who own it.
Over here to the right we see what's left of a house that was essentially demolished as the water came through. If you look right through the tree here, you can see what appears to be a window on a wall. And then to the left of that, what we're looking at appears to be the floor of a house.
And what we do know is that just up the bank here, probably 75 yards, there was a house. A woman lived there. And it was simply taken off of its foundation and pushed down the creek. Back to you.
SIDNER: It's just one of those examples, it's not the wind. It is always the water that does the most damage. Joe Johns, thank you for that great report.
SANCHEZ: We want to bring in Clay and McKenzie Nickles now. Their home was damaged in the flooding, and they are nearby in a car. Clay and McKenzie, I know you were having an issue hearing me earlier, I just want to make sure we're loud and clear. How are you doing this morning?
CLAY NICKLES, KENTUCKY FLOOD VICTIM: Yes, we can hear you. For the situation, we're doing the best we can. First off, I want to say our thoughts and prayers are with our family, our friends, and our community. This is an absolute devastating, completely -- just a devastating event. We're in a car. There's trees been cut off our house currently, so I hope everybody can hear us loud and clear.
SANCHEZ: We can. Tell us about your community and what you experienced, what you went through when you realized you might have been in danger.
NICKLES: So, Thursday morning when this happened, we woke up to a terribly loud banging sound on what we thought was someone knocking at door. The mountain behind our house had slid off, and it was rocks and boulders crashing into the house.
So we got out of there quickly. Then we began -- there was no cellphone reception, so we had to find family. We waded through creek water to get to people. It was just a tragic day. All of our family so far has been accounted for. But we have neighbors who have not yet been accounted for. After we get off of here today, we're going to join in the cleanup efforts in the community, and we're going to go from there.
SANCHEZ: I'm sorry to hear about your neighbors, Clay. I'm glad that you were able to make sure all of your family was well. I understand you had to wade through chest-deep water to check in on your grandfather. How is he doing now?
NICKLES: Yes. Physically, emotionally, he's done fine. His house has been pretty wiped out by the flood damage and the rocks and the mud. But his spirits are good. My grandmother's spirits are good. She was not home during the event. And she's back home now. Material things can come and go, but human life cannot. And we're just blessed that we still have him.
SANCHEZ: Absolutely. And Clay, for folks that don't know Neon, Kentucky, tell me what it's like there.
NICKLES: If you think of Mayberry with Andy Griffith, it's a close- knit community. Everybody, whether they're family or not, is like family. In an event like this, typically if one or two people get devastated, everybody joins in to help. And in this situation, everyone is devastated, everyone has been demolished by this. So we haven't seen that banding together because everybody's still trying to dig out of their own house.
But I'm sure that will come in the next few days. This community was flooded like this in 1957, and since then there's been multiple floods but nothing of this magnitude. So I'm looking forward to joining in with the cleanup efforts later today and throughout the rest of the week. And this is tough, but we will get through this. These people are potters, and mountain people have a lot of heart.
SANCHEZ: And I'm sure resources will pour in from across the nation to help folks in Kentucky. I am wondering, there are more storms in the forecast for the coming days. You mentioned you hadn't seen rain like that ever.
SANCHEZ: Are you concerned about these next rounds of storms? What can be done to try to prevent more damage from happening?
NICKLES: Absolutely. Everybody needs to stay vigilant and aware.
A lot of people don't have electricity, let alone TV access. So it's hard for people to see this broadcast, the Weather Channel's broadcast. But staying vigilant is key right now, because the ground is so saturated. We had 12 inches, approximately, of rain fall in like an eight to ten-hour period. And I haven't got to look this up yet, but I would imagine that's sort of record for this area. And the creeks, it can't hold that amount of water in that short of time. There's nowhere for it to drain.
So we're all hoping and praying that we can avoid more excess rainfall at this time, because what happened on Thursday could easily happen again.
SANCHEZ: And I'm hoping that it shakes out in the best way possible for you. We're glad to hear that your family members are OK. Our hearts go out to your neighbors that are still missing. Clay and McKenzie Nickles, please let us know if there's more we can do to get a message out there to help you guys.
NICKLES: Thank you all. We really appreciate it.
SANCHEZ: Clay and McKenzie, thank you again.
So as we noted, there are more storms in the forecast for communities in Kentucky that have already been devastated by flash flooding.
SIDNER: CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar joins us live. Allison, authorities are calling this 1,000-year flood. Explain what that means.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's one of those confusing things. You think it would be something simple, but it's not. And you have to remember, too, we had not one but two one in 1,000-year floods in the same week caused by the same system. We had one earlier in the week that was around the greater St. Louis area. And then the secondary one that happened later in the week in portions of eastern Kentucky.
But when you that phrase, a "one in 1,000-year flood," it does not mean that this happens only every thousand years. It's a statistical number. So we basically talk about that in any given year your odds of having that type of flood are 0.1 percent. But that's kind of hard to compute in your mind. So let's break it down in a way that's a little bit easier to understand. Take a deck of cards, 52 standard deck of cards that you would have. The odds of having a 100-year flood, that cumulative over 30 years risk is about 26 percent. That's the same odds of you grabbing a heart from the deck, OK? Any heart, two of hearts, 10 of hearts, jack of hearts, doesn't matter. When we talk about a one in 500-year flood, now you're talking, it's the same statistical odds of grabbing two hearts from the deck, a two, seven, doesn't matter what the number is.
Now, when we talk about what we had in Kentucky, what we had in St. Louis, you're talking about a 1,000-year flood. That's the same statistical measurements that you would take as grabbing an ace of red, a red ace out of a deck of cards. Again, extremely hard to do if that's just the first card you pick up. So it goes to show how rare are these one in 1,000-year flood events, but we had two of them in the same week.
The thing is they're becoming more common because of climate change. When you have a warmer atmosphere, that atmosphere can hold more moisture. So as these systems come through, they're able to dump a tremendous amount of moisture in a small, contained area. And that's what we saw with this particular event. And unfortunately, as we talked about, Sara and Boris, we have more rain in the forecast in the coming days. Today the driest of the next three days, but then you really see that surge Sunday and Monday.
SIDNER: Allison, I've got to give it to you. You are doing college level statistics at 10:00 a.m., and we appreciate it. Thank you.
CHINCHAR: You're welcome, thanks.
SIDNER: Now to the January 6th investigation. CNN has learned exclusive new details about those missing Secret Service text messages sought by the select committee. According to multiple sources, the Inspector General for Homeland Security knew about the missing messages months earlier than previously believed.
SANCHEZ: And that revelation is adding to the pressure on Inspector General Joseph Cuffari. CNN law enforcement correspondent Whitney Wild has the details for us.
WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Sara, congressional oversight committees said that the inspector general was aware of missing text messages as of December 2021. But sources tell CNN the Secret Service notified Cuffari's office that text messages were erased, and notified that office in May of 2021, seven months earlier.
The Secret Service has explained that text messages were lost in a previously scheduled data migration of agents' cellphones. The committee and Cuffari are very interested in these text messages because they could shed light on the Secret Service's response to January 6th as well as what they may have observed. The sources also told CNN that one of the main problems here is that key personnel within the Secret Service didn't realize the texts were totally gone. And when they did realize this, they tried to go back to the cellular provider to retrieve that information, but they couldn't do it.
Again, that was back in Spring of 2021. A few months later, in July of 2021, investigators at the inspector general's office told the Department of Homeland Security they were no longer seeking these text messages. Cuffari's office then appeared to restart that probe into the text messages in December of 2021.
These new details show just how many people realized this information was gone in the months following the riot, and further, go to show if they were gone then, if they were gone in May of 2021, it's going to be so much more difficult now, more than a year later, to try to get that information back, meaning what could be important information could very well be lost for good. Boris, Sara?
SANCHEZ: Whitney Wild, thank you so much.
The CDC now says that there are more than 5,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States. This as experts are warning the window to stop the spread is running out. We're going to talk to an expert after a quick break.
SIDNER: Plus, the drought in the west leaving America's farmers in dire straits. We'll talk to one farmer who calls it, quote, "silent disaster." The tough choices they're now forced to make to survive, coming up.
Plus, just one ticket matched last night's mega millions drawing. Where the winning ticket was sold and how much cash the winner will walk away are, coming up.
SIDNER: San Francisco declares the monkeypox outbreak a local health emergency, the first major U.S. city to take that step. The move comes as some health officials warn that time to stop the spread is running out.
Dr. Anne Rimoin is a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She joins us from Los Angeles. Doctor, we talked earlier in the week. You said that the window to get ahead of the monkeypox outbreak is closing. What do health agencies need to be doing right now?
DR. ANNE RIMOIN, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, UCLA FIELDING SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: There are several things that health agencies need to do. They need to be able to make sure people know where they can access testing, where they can access vaccines, and for clinicians to really understand the system to know how do I get people tested, how do I look for what this virus looks like.
The other thing we have to do is work on getting all of these services better -- make them better available. So we need more testing, we need more access to vaccines. And we really do have to work on this messaging. I think that the window is, as we said before, it's really closing and closing fast. So we must do everything we can to get ahead of it.
SIDNER: You said an infection anywhere could be an infection everywhere. But the majority of the WHO expert committee on monkeypox voted against declaring a global health emergency. Does that send a mixed signal to the public? You have got some of the local places where cases are going up saying it's an emergency, but you don't have global health authorities saying the same. RIMOIN: I think the meeting was a very important meeting. I'm a member
of that committee. And there was very, very careful consideration of the data. And the vote actually was very, very close. And the director general made the right decision to declare a public health emergency. I think it's very normal to have debate and different considerations among scientists. And so the decision was made based on the very strong recommendations from those who believed that monkeypox did constitute a public health emergency of international concern.
SIDNER: I want to talk to you about testing, because I could be wrong, but it seems like some of the same mistakes that were made when it came to the coronavirus, the novel coronavirus, as it was before we figured it was COVID-19 or named it, now we're having similar issues with testing and with vaccines with monkeypox. Are we in a bad scenario again here? Have we learned anything from covid?
RIMOIN: We've certainly learned a lot from COVID. And we do have a lot more understanding of what needs to happen when we have a situation like an outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic. But the problem is we haven't invested in the research infrastructure, the testing infrastructure, the public health infrastructure in general to be able to move quickly. And until we do that, we will constantly be chasing behind. It takes quite a bit to be able to stand up all of these services, to be able to get tests that are going to be accurate in place, to be able to get that information in place. So unless we start investing in this significantly, not piecemeal, we're always going to be chasing behind it.
SIDNER: Anne Rimoin, I do want to talk to you about stigma, because this is factually something that has been affecting men who have sex with men, at least that's who is getting tested, it seems like, more than anyone else. And is there a stigma where other people don't think that it could happen to them or that they could get it, and we're seeing the stigma play out, and there may be more cases than we know of?
RIMOIN: Sara, there are certainly more cases than we know of. And that's for a variety of reasons. The first reason, of course, is the lack of testing. And so testing is really now aimed at men who have sex with men. The second reason is that people may feel stigmatized trying to access this testing. They may just feel like I don't want to share who my sexual partners are. I don't want to share what my lifestyle is. There's still quite a bit of stigma out there. So people may just decide, I'm not going to get tested because that might define me as something that I don't want to define myself as. But it's really important to remember that this virus can affect anybody. Right now, it is spreading and spreading efficiently through the social and sexual networks of men who have sex with men.
But traditionally this virus spreads in Africa in populations that are in close contact with animals, and then their close contacts. It spreads through close contact, in particular close contact with skin lesions. But it can also be through what we call fomites, contaminated objects, sheets, linens, clothing. And so I think it's really important for people to remember that this is not a virus that really only infects one group. It's just spreading in that group first right now.
SIDNER: Dr. Anne Rimoin, thank you so much for bringing us all that information that people need to know. We will talk to you in a bit.
SANCHEZ: It is a silent disaster wreaking havoc in California. Up next, a farmer shares the difficult choices he's had to make as the state deals with an unprecedented drought.
SANCHEZ: Three years of unprecedented drought in California, plus, pandemic setbacks and soaring prices have forced farmers to make some difficult decisions just to stay afloat.
Joining us is one of them, Joe Del Bosque, CEO and president of Del Bosque Farms. Joe, we're grateful that you're sharing part of your weekend with us. I want to share with our viewers a portion of an op- ed for "The L.A. Times" that you wrote earlier this week where you said, quote, "Drought is a silent disaster. Most consumers never see this, but they witness the fallout from it -- the empty spaces on their supermarket shelves and the higher prices at the checkout stand." So Joe, share with us what these last few years have been like for you and your family's farm.
JOE DEL BOSQUE, CEO AND PRESIDENT, DEL BOSQUE FARMS: This drought has been very severe. And I think this year is the worst. We farmers in California are lucky to have hot, dry weather, and that's what our crops love. But they've got to have water, and we've got to irrigate them. But the past two years we haven't had enough water. So we've had to leave land unplanted. We've had to even destroy crops.
SANCHEZ: Joe, the last few months, California has tried to deal with the demand for water by essentially restricting water supply. What harm has that caused farmers?
DEL BOSQUE: Well, when you restrict water supplies to the farms, that means that we plant less. And we've had restrictions of our water supplies for years now. A lot of people don't know that, but we've been dealing with this for quite a long time. It's just now that people are being asked to cut back on their water use. And it affects them. But it's going to affect them in their food supply because we can't plant enough crops here in California.
SANCHEZ: What have state and local and even federal lawmakers done to try to help the situation? Have you tried to communicate with them about the problems?
DEL BOSQUE: We have. They basically tell us to conserve more water. They tell people to conserve water. But they really haven't done much in terms of trying to do something about our water supply. And that means to try to create more storage so we can save more water during the very wet years like 2017 and 18 were very wet, so he could have water for the dry years. That's the way the system works in California. But we haven't updated this system in 50 years, and our state has doubled in population in the last 50 years.
SANCHEZ: And you mentioned the problems that consumers are going to confront not only because of inflation and supply chain issues but now because of the weather and the difficulties that you're having with crops. What is it going to look like a few years down the road for consumers if this isn't solved?
DEL BOSQUE: California produces most of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts in the country. And so this drought is affecting those crops. And it's going to affect those products at your grocery store.
SANCHEZ: You have a platform right now, Joe, where lawmakers may be watching this, people around the country may be learning that this is as serious an issue as you're presenting it. What's your message to folks at home?
DEL BOSQUE: My message to you is that what happens in California is important to you because it affects your supply of fresh food, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. And we need your support. You need our products. We need to do something about water supply in California so we can keep producing food for you.
SANCHEZ: Joe Del Bosque, we have to leave the conversation there. Please keep us updated on how things are going out on Del Bosque Farms.
DEL BOSQUE: Thank you very much.
SANCHEZ: Of course.
So tomorrow, Kamau Bell is in California, actually trying to understand why these catastrophic weather issues are happening, including fires, and how we can prepare for them, in a new episode of "United Shades." That's at 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
Newsroom continues in just a moment.
SANCHEZ: New this morning, someone really, really lucky, my new best friend, Sara, matched all five numbers plus the mega ball number in the $1.34 billion mega millions jackpot. The lottery updated this amount from $1.28 billion earlier to reflect the actual sales. So they're even more of a billionaire than we initially thought.
SIDNER: Sigh. That someone is neither of us.
SIDNER: The winning numbers are 13, 36, 45, 57, 67, and the power ball number is 14.
Let's get right to CNN's Camila Bernal. Camila, where this ticket sold?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Unfortunately, it wasn't me, it wasn't here. It was in Illinois. It was in Des Plaines, Illinois, which is right north of O'Hare. Look, this is someone who is going to have to choose whether they want the cash immediately, which is probably going to be a little less money, or whether they want these annual payments.
But it is also important to point out that he or she bought it at a speedway, and that speedway is also getting $500,000. So there are a lot of winners here. It's not just the big jackpot. It really is the definition of being lucky.
But another 26 people all over the country winning at least $1 million. Six of those winning even more, $2 million, because they paid one extra dollar to multiply their earnings. These are people who got the five numbers correct. There's also a person here in California that is getting $4.2 million, and that's because here in California, the prize is based on sales and the number of people that bought the tickets. So a lot of people are getting some cash.
And look, I would have been happy with $1 million. It could have paid for a lot of things here. Unfortunately, it wasn't me, Sara, Boris.
SIDNER: I would have taken $100. I would take you guys out for coffee, because that's how much coffee costs these days.
SANCHEZ: I just found out our colleague Jeremy Diamond won $2. I would have been happy with that. That's awesome. It means you can buy another Mega Millions jackpot ticket. Thank you so much, Camila.
SIDNER: If you could only see, you guys, you could only see the text messages between me and my family who lives in Illinois. I'm like, is there something you want to tell me?
SIDNER: Thanks, Camila.
A 23-ton Chinese rocket is on a crash course with earth, but no one knows when or where it will land. Sounds like a problem. A former astronaut weighs in, next.
SIDNER: Pieces of the Chinese rocket that launched into space this week are expected to land somewhere on earth in the next few days. The 23-ton rocket delivered a module to its space station on Monday. Now it's in an uncontrolled descent, and it's not clear exactly where it's going to land or when. Let's bring in former astronaut and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Terry Virts to shed some light on this. Terry, this does not sound great, to say the least. How much risk is there with having to deal with this debris that are coming down to earth?
TERRY VIRTS, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: There's definitely a risk. The odds of it actually landing on someone's head or in someone's house are pretty low. It's at what's called a 41 degree inclination, so the Chinese space station stays between 41 degrees north and 41 degrees south, which is where basically everybody on earth lives. It's New York City, it's California, it's Tokyo, it's Australia, basically all human population are in that range. Also there's a lot of ocean there.
So the rocket is coming down uncontrolled because the Chinese just don't have a system. It's a very irresponsible way that they launched this rocket, to just let it randomly fall down. It's a big rocket. It's a 22-ton massive piece of hardware that's coming back to earth, and they expect that about a third of it is actually going to hit the ground. In fact, in 2020, the same rocket actually landed in the Ivory Coast, and it damaged some property. So it's not out of the realm of possibility. It's unlikely but it's definitely -- the odds are higher than winning that lottery.
SIDNER: Much higher, I think. This is the third time, I think, since 2020 that China has been accused of not properly handling space debris. Why does this keep happening?
VIRTS: Well, it's their way of doing things. They're certainly not going to be told anything by the west. And it would cost money. You would have to build a rocket propulsion system that would target its landing point. That's what America does. We have lots of satellites and space objects that are intentionally targeted in the Pacific Ocean. It's a place called Point Nemo. It's thousands of miles from anything. There's lots rockets that land in that area. And China has just decided not to do it.
It's not only China, and it's not only random debris. Russia just did a very, very irresponsible and dangerous military test where they used an antisatellite weapon, exploded a satellite. That debris flew at the International Space Station where their own cosmonauts had to shelter from it. And so it's not just random acts of space debris coming back to earth. It's also these irresponsible military tests also. I had to maneuver the space station from a Chinese military test that put debris in orbit that has been there for decades already.
SIDNER: That's terrifying. Russia says it is going to pull out of the ISS after 2024. There's been decades of collaboration with NASA. What does this mean for the space program and for NASA itself?
VIRTS: Well, I think we have to take that with little of a grain of salt. Collaborating with Russia was a highlight of my career at NASA. It was a really important thing that we were doing during some pretty tense times on earth. I was there when they annexed Crimea and started the war in Ukraine in 2015. But they've certainly crossed the line. What's happening in Ukraine is way beyond anything that's acceptable. It kind of feels like working with Germans in 1941.
But when they say they're going to pull out of the ISS, they say a lot of things. Normally when a Russian government official is speaking, you can assume that he's not telling the truth or what he says is not going to happen. So I've heard some words from some colleagues that it may not be as quick as they say. It's my view that we should probably start the process of disengagement now just because of their actions in Ukraine. And they're killing civilians today, and that's not necessarily the partner you want to have in space.
SIDNER: Thank you so much for joining us. I know you've taken some of the pictures, such beautiful pictures, more pictures than anyone else has been able to take of the earth from space. I appreciate your time, Terry.
VIRTS: It was awesome, and thanks for having me on.
SIDNER: We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: We are continuing to follow the devastation out of Kentucky where at least 25 people, including six children, have died because of extensive massive flooding. The floodwaters washing out bridges, causing power outages, and sending residents scrambling to their rooftops.
Right now, rescue efforts are still under way to reach difficult to access areas, so it is difficult to get a full scope of the damage.
Joining us now to discuss is the governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear. Governor, we're grateful that you could spend some time with us this morning. What's the biggest challenge you are facing right now?
GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): There are so many challenges with a natural disaster of this magnitude. We've got folks in these areas that have seen flooding, have even seen a lot of flooding, but never anything like this. Houses, gone, and not one wall, not one bit left. And the debris, probably at this point miles away. At least 25 people lost, 25 Kentuckians, children of God. And I know there will be many more.
Cellphone service still not up in some counties. So think about how many scared family members there are across America trying to reach their loved ones. The water is still high in some counties. It's crested in most, but not all. Water systems overwhelmed. So either no water or water that's not safe, that you have to boil. Think about restrooms out in entire counties. We have got one hospital that doesn't have water.
So, real challenges out there. And we're still in this thing. Even though it's stopped raining, and thank God it's stopped raining, we are still in search and rescue mode. We have an incredible National Guard out there. They've made more than 660 air rescues. And that's our National Guard, Tennessee's and West Virginia's. So my goodness, thank you to them. More than 600 water rescues out there, and they'll be continuing today. So while we are devastated at what's happened, we're really grateful
for everybody out there that's finding people and bringing them to safety.
SANCHEZ: We're incredibly grateful for their outstanding work. Any time there's a natural disaster, their brave work saves lives and inspires communities.
Governor, you mentioned the death toll is at 25. As you noted, it went up overnight. I'm wondering how much worse you think it's going to get in the coming days.
BESHEAR: It's going to get worse. And I think that we will be updating it maybe even for weeks to come. We don't lose this many people in a flood, yet there are still so many people unaccounted for. And in this area, it's going to be a hard task to get a firm number of folks unaccounted for. We have phone numbers for Kentuckians to call to report missing loved ones, and we're going to get out especially while it's dry today and find as many people as we can. Our challenge is Sunday, it's going to start raining again. And while we don't think it will be historic rain, it will be hard. And then later in this week it is going to get really, really hot. And we have a lot of people without electricity.
So we are moving as fast as we can. Sadly, but I guess fortunately, we learned a lot of lessons in western Kentucky on those devastating tornadoes about seven months ago. So we are providing as much support as we can. We are moving fast from all over the state to help out.
SANCHEZ: Governor, I was actually on the ground in Mayfield after that EF-4 tornado hit, and I remember how emotional it was for you personally to talk to the families of those who lost loved ones. I'm wondering what your message is now to folks in Kentucky who have to pick up the pieces.
BESHEAR: We love you, and we're going to be there for you, not just today and tomorrow. We're going to be there for you next year. We'll move heaven and earth to try to repair the damage, to repair your lives, to rebuild. And we know you love where you live, and we're going to be right there with you.
Let me give you a real special story, though. You're talking about Mayfield. The fire chief in Mayfield jumped in an ambulance, because they knew they would need extra, and drove to eastern Kentucky yesterday. Chief Creason, his message, and Mayor O'Nan's, was the world was there for us when we needed them. We're going to be there for the people of eastern Kentucky. That's pretty special.
SANCHEZ: That is incredibly special. Governor Andy Beshear, we thank you for the time. We know you've got a busy period ahead of you. Please let us know what we can do to help to get any message out there you might need and lend a helping hand.
BESHEAR: Thank you. And people can help by donating to the Team Eastern Kentucky flood relief fund. Thank you to your network for putting it out there. SANCHEZ: We're going to make sure it's on our website. Governor Andy
Beshear, thank you again, sir.
BESHEAR: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: And thank everyone who's been watching this morning, we appreciate you making us part of your weekend.
SIDNER: Our coverage continues right now with Fredricka Whitfield.