By Thursday, rescue personnel from state agencies and the National Guard were conducting a frantic search for survivors by boat and helicopter. But by Friday night, the confirmed death toll had climbed to 25, and many others were still missing. Among the dead so far are at least six children, including four from one family who clung to a tree, and each other, amid floodwaters after escaping from a mobile home.
The parents of those children, ages 2 to 8, were rescued hours later by a man in a kayak who had been looking for stranded neighbors. Still, Brittany Trejo, a relative of the family, told The New York Times, “The rage of the water took their children out of their hands.”
One bright spot amid Kentucky’s grief and devastation has been efforts by volunteers across the state to help emergency workers find, feed and assist people who either remain trapped by floods or have taken refuge from them in churches and other makeshift shelters.
Early Saturday morning, Joe Arvin, a private chef who has appeared on nationally televised cooking competitions, was staying up late as he smoked hundreds of pounds of pork and beef at his home in Lexington, Ky. The meat would fill the 1,000 or so burritos that he planned to deliver to the hard-hit city of Hazard by noon.
Mr. Arvin said, he expected 20 or 30 volunteers, including some members of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, to arrive at his home by 6 a.m. and start loading a convoy of pickup trucks with supplies — not only burritos, but also the diapers, paper towels and bottled water that officials in Hazard had requested. Some of the food and supplies would be delivered to stranded residents by boat.
Mr. Arvin, 51, said he had been warned that floodwaters were still high in the area and that some of the bridges between Lexington and Hazard were out. But he planned to make the two-and-a-half-hour drive anyway.