16 Jan WV Flood: Six Months Later (They Still Need Help)
In December, we were in West Virginia to deliver toys, coats, hats, scarves and other goodies to kids and families for the holidays. While there, we took a trip down the length of river that flooded six months prior and devastated these Appalachian communities that lined the river.
In case you don’t remember, in June 2016 one of the deadliest floods in West Virginia history hit and 10 inches of rain fell in a short 12 hours. It resulted in at least 23 deaths and damaged and devastated thousands of families, homes and businesses.
Many of these families are still struggling to recover.
In December 2016, as we traveled the length of that river road, it had been almost six months since the flood hit. The mood as we drove was quiet and somber, even stifling the conversation of the two girls (ages eight and 10) that we had with us.
The scene was still overwhelming — so much so that we had a hard time imagining how it could’ve been so much worse right after the flood.
Trailers still precariously careened down hills toward the water.
A huge jetted bathroom tub was perched in a tree over the riverbank.
A house teetered on the side of the muddy embankment, it’s first floor completely demolished. We had no idea how it was still standing.
An entire small town main street was now a ghost town. If you looked close enough, you could see where the water stood almost halfway up the buildings.
We nervously crossed an area where the entire road and bridge had been washed out. Now there was barely enough room for one car and I held my breath as we slowly squeezed our way through — eyeing the rock from the mountain inches from our car on the right side and an unobstructed drop off to the river below on my driver’s side.
It was the area where the bridge had washed out on one side of a town and the roads flooded on the other, leaving an entire town without any way to get in or out of the area … even in an emergency.
But the hardest to witness — the images that haunt me at night when I close my eyes — are those of families’ belongings strewn across lawns or now neatly organized into piles on a porch or at the side of the house, waiting to be discarded. Dolls that will never be played with again. Wedding pictures and photos of newborn babies that will never be recovered. Muddy and moldy clothes that left families with only what they were wearing on their backs that fateful day. One lone pink bouncy ball forgotten among the other discarded items.
I know these are just things — things we can recover from. But, things have memories attached and, when you have lost everything, those memories are important.
Some families here will never recover — physically and emotionally.
These communities will never be the same.
How Can You Help?
Even though six months has passed, there is still a great need in these communities.
One of the casualties of this flood was the closing of the only area food bank because the water had breached their basement and created black mold.
Now, the food bank has reopened in another location, but they need our help to get it filled with food so they can start serving this community again.
Won’t you join us in giving this community hope again?
We need to raise $1,200 to cover the first one to two shipments to help feed this community.
We have the ability to accept recurring donations for this cause, so you can automatically give to the FILL A FOOD BANK effort each month. Just check “every month” on the Is this a recurring donation? checkbox.
photos courtesy of: