More than 40 people remain unaccounted for following flooding in a remote pocket of southwest Virginia that destroyed more than 100 homes, authorities said on Wednesday.
The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office said 44 individuals – a mix of adults and children – are unaccounted for after flooding in the Whitewood area.
The sheriff’s office said the number reflects the number of people that have been reported by family members who were unable to contact them – not necessarily that they are missing. At this time, there are no confirmed fatalities.
First responders in Buchanan County began receiving reports of rising water and damage Tuesday night, authorities said. After daybreak, crews conducted aerial surveys to examine the extent of the disaster. Several small communities in the Virginia county that borders West Virginia and Kentucky were impacted, according to the sheriff's office. A shelter was established at a local school.
An official from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said accessing the remote area was part of the struggle for search-and-rescue teams. Many roadways are blocked by landslides and approaches to bridges are washed out, the official said.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency to aid with the response and recovery efforts.
"As we continue to assess the situation, I want to thank our first responders and the personnel on the ground for providing assistance with our ongoing operations in Buchanan County. While rescue and recovery continues, please join me in prayer as we lift up our fellow Virginians impacted by this tragedy," Youngkin said in a statement.
Heavy thunderstorms also led to flash flooding Tuesday evening along the Little Pigeon River in eastern Tennessee that prompted the evacuation of more than 400 people from a campground. No injuries were reported in the Tennessee flooding, but vehicles and debris from the Greenbrier Campground were washed downstream by floodwaters, Sevier County Assistant Mayor Perrin Anderson told news outlets.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.