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Death toll expected to rise in eastern Kentucky after severe flooding

A volunteer with the Red Cross speaks with a woman at a shelter in eastern Kentucky, where the death toll was expected to rise on Monday. Photo courtesy Kentucky Red Cross/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/redcross/posts/pfbid0MDoCBCd5js9895uM66G4JiHnE8qyT4biud2BHXkALXU1Ys4cs3cHmfNCAMWipZpBl">Facebook</a>
A volunteer with the Red Cross speaks with a woman at a shelter in eastern Kentucky, where the death toll was expected to rise on Monday. Photo courtesy Kentucky Red Cross/Facebook

Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The official statewide death toll after the disastrous flooding in Kentucky last week may rise to 34 after more bodies were discovered including four in Perry County late Sunday, officials said.

The Perry County Coroner's Office said that it recovered the bodies of four more people, three of whom are unidentified and were found along a local highway.

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear had said on Sunday that the death toll was at 28.

"Continued prayers are needed for our community today as well as the months to come," the Perry County Coroner's Office said in a statement.

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"This brings the total confirmed deaths due to our recent flooding to seven in Perry County."

Additionally, the Knott County Coroner's Office reported Sunday that it discovered the body of another person -- bringing the death toll in that county alone to 16.

Breathitt County Coroner Hargis Epperson told the Lexington Herald-Leader late Sunday that the county's death toll had risen by one.

Epperson said a woman died after suffering chest pains because an ambulance couldn't get through floodwaters. Her death is listed as being caused by "complication of flooding."

Flooded homes are seen on July 29 near Hazard, Kentucky. Nearly three dozen people have died in recent days due to the severe flooding in the region. Photo courtesy Kentucky National Guard via EPA-EFE
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The other six victims in Breathitt County drowned, the coroner said.

The National Weather Service said Monday that "a slight risk of excessive rainfall leading to flash flooding is in effect" for parts of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, southern West Virginia, northern Georgia and southwestern Virginia and North Carolina.

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Hundreds of volunteers with the American Red Cross have headed to Kentucky to help with the disaster recovery efforts since the flooding began Thursday, the organization said.

The Kentucky Red Cross said its volunteers have so far helped "provide comfort and care" and fed more than 550 people in at least 16 shelters. It's also replaced prescription medications, eyeglasses and critical medical equipment like wheelchairs that were left behind as people fled their homes.

"This is an evolving situation with some main roads still inundated, and the potential for more rain in some areas in the coming days," the Red Cross said in a statement.

"Along with our partners, we remain committed to supporting communities during this time and as the full scope of this disaster comes to light."

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