Saturday, January 31, 2009


Declaring that Kentucky is "in the middle of the biggest natural disaster that this commonwealth has ever experienced," the governor deployed every last one of his National Guard troops Saturday -- the largest Guard mobilization in the state's history -- to distribute water, food and other supplies.

As if there were still any remaining doubt that America needs to upgrade its infrastructure, the storm has left hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians without electricity and fresh water, sending many to seek refuge in shelters across the state. At least six of more than 100 shelters for storm victims remained without power Saturday, and those six shelters included some nursing homes.

Of 120 counties across the state, 91 had declared emergencies. The situation is particularly bad in the western part of the state, where the storm has left ice-laden power lines and tree branches drooping heavily Saturday, hampering efforts to restore infrastructure and deliver relief to residents without power. Electricity is being restored at a fairly rapid pace, but about 437,000 people remained without power as night fell Saturday, down from 545,000 earlier in the day and from 700,000 in the aftermath of the storm.

As electricity was being restored, however, emergency personnel struggled to deal with another problem: lack of water. 93 water systems are having problems; 64 of them are down completely. And communications have been virtually nonexistent in some areas for several days.

We're in need of a big fix-up. I could go on, but I won't - I'm in sesshin this weekend.

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