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Over 40 left unaccountable in southwestern Virginia flood

Over 40 people have been reported unaccounted for and more than 100 homes have been damaged or destroyed after flood waters ripped through a riverfront Appalachian community in southwestern Virginia on Wednesday.

18 search-and-rescue teams, including swift-water rescue crews, were dispatched to the area in and around Whitewood, Virginia, early in the day, Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Eric Breeding told reporters.

According to the Chief Deputy, no fatalities or serious injuries were confirmed so far. He said that the 44 people listed as unaccounted reflected the number of individuals whose loved ones have reported their whereabouts as unknown after floods struck. The reported unaccounted persons were not considered “missing” as yet, as many were likely to have been merely left unreachable because of telephone and electricity service disruptions in the region.

Over 100 houses in the area have been damaged, and many roads and bridges had been washed out by mudslides and high water, a Virginia state emergency management official told the same news briefing, carried by local television station WCYB, based in Bristol, Virginia.

Governor Glenn Youngkin has declared a state of emergency in southwestern Virginia in order to hasten disaster assistance to the flood-stricken area.

The torrential rain, which began on Tuesday and lasted through early Wednesday morning, was part of a larger storm system that struck the mid-Atlantic region, with showers continuing into the morning hours. It caused flash floods in Buchanan County, as well as widespread power outages and damages to roads and other infrastructure.

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