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Four young siblings swept to their deaths in the devastating Kentucky floods have been identified.
The children were separated from their parents, Riley Noble and Amber Smith, as the family clung to a tree after water inundated their home in Knott County last Thursday.
The bodies of Madison Noble, eight, Riley Noble Jr, five, Neveah Noble, four, and two-year-old Chance Noble were recovered the following day.
“They managed to get to a tree and ... held the children a few hours before a big tide came and wash them all away at the same time,” a cousin, Brittany Trejo, told local newspaper The Lexington Herald-Leader.
Both parents survived after hanging onto the tree for more than six hours, eventually being rescued by a man in a kayak, The New York Times reported.
A GoFundMe started for the family had raised nearly $70,000. On Monday, Ms Trejo said that the children’s funeral costs will be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the government’s disaster relief fund. She said that the money donated would go towards helping the bereaved parents.
At 35 people have died in Kentucky in what Governor Andy Beshear has called the “worst flooding disaster” of his lifetime.
The death toll is likely to rise as several dozen people remain missing. Damage from the flooding has made travel and communication extremely difficult in the rural Appalachian Mountain region.
More rain was expected in the area on Monday, worsening the disaster. The National Weather Service has instituted a flood watch in eastern Kentucky for Monday night through Tuesday morning.
Some areas could see instances with up to two inches of rain per hour that “may result in flash flooding,” the agency reported.
On Twitter, Governor Beshear urged people to find higher ground, and called Monday’s weather forecast “really tough.”
“Our goal, moving into tonight, is to get everybody to a safe place,” he added. “We don’t want to have to search for any people who are safe right now.”
As the planet heats up, some areas will be liable to see heavier rainstorms, dropping much more water at once and risking rapid-onset floods.
Also this weekend, two people were killed in northern California’s McKinney Fire, which is now the state’s largest of the year so far, and officials confirmed at least seven deaths linked to last week’s Pacific Northwest heatwave.