As Waters Recede, Clean-Up Begins After Devastating West Virginia Flooding
Some facts about West Virginia’s devastating weekend flooding:
•The National Weather Service classified West Virginia’s flooding as a “one-in-a-thousand-year-event.”
•As of Sunday, 25 lives had been lost.
•44 of 55 counties in West Virginia are under a state of emergency, mostly in the southeastern area.
•Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Nicholas counties’ residents qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid after West Virginia was declared a federal disaster area.
•The Greenbrier Classic PGA tournament, scheduled for July, was cancelled after the Greenbrier Resort’s golf course was destroyed by flood waters.
•In Kanawha County, a temporary gravel road was built to rescue 500 people trapped when the bridge crossing was destroyed by flooding on Thursday.
•Thousands are still without power.
•More than 60 secondary roads were still closed as of Monday.
•An estimated 8-10 inches of rain led to the massive flooding.
•Trending hash tag: #StayStrongWV
•Greenbrier Care Family Practice is giving away hundreds of free tetanus shots; free water is being distributed; Americans are stepping in to help.
•The Greenbrier Resort, largest employer in Greenbrier County, is closed to the public until further notice but has opened its doors to flood victims and is offering extensive help for its neighbors: Neighbors Loving Neighbors.
•Anyone interested in helping West Virginia is asked to contact the Greenbrier County Emergency Shelter at 304-645-6999 or mail monetary donations to 3584 Davis Stuart Road, Lewisburg, WV, 24901. Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at The Greenbrier at The Greenbrier Sports Performance Center, just across the street from the main property on Kate’s Mountain Road. Donations can also be made online at www.therhemalife.com, or by texting the amount you wish to give and the word “neighbor” to 501-697-4362.
•In Augusta County, a drop-off point for donated items is Augusta Health Care for Women, 39 Beam Lane, Fishersville. Their office administrator’s WV home town is flooded. This is the list of needed items.
•West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin updates are here.
West Virginia is our neighbor to the west with family, friends, and fellow Americans who are dealing with tragedy, devastation, and a clean-up that will last days, weeks, months, and perhaps years.
Most of us are watching from afar as the images unfold of towns underwater, mud-caked homes, homes forced off foundations, the twisted metal of vehicles and buildings wrapped around trees, and video of a burning house floating downstream. But Rupert, WV, resident Davina Agee, whose husband is a WV state trooper, shared the dire circumstances and seriousness of it with her boots-on-the-ground experience in a Facebook status she posted on June 24:
It’s clear to me that there are still people that don’t grasp the magnitude of what we have experienced on the West end of Greenbrier County. I am receiving messages from people and being approached by people who may not get it.
Last evening my husband had probably the most traumatic and devastating time in his entire career with the state police. He tied a rope to himself and literally had to swim out in rushing water to try to save people. There were some that he could see … and hear but could not get to them to save them. He literally watched people be swept away. He recounted that story to me today with tears in his eyes as he said, “I just couldn’t save them all.”
It was reported to me late last nigh that bodies were floating in the streets of Rainelle. This morning when it was chaos at the Rupert Fire station and I asked what I could do to help, I never imagined they would say, “Can you find us a place to store bodies?”
Let that sink in.
Children were missing parents today, parents were also missing children. One lady escaped her flooding home and slept in her car with two infants and when rescued today, she did not even have shoes. Children were being loaded onto the national guard trucks with people saying, “We don’t know who these children belong to.”
There are still people stranded in homes awaiting rescue. People have been without food or water for over 24 hours now. Many are displaced without important medications. Some have lost everything and have yet to even find their loved ones. But our little communities have come together like no other.
Police officers and fireman have been working tirelessly for 36 hours straight. We are feeding the hungry, clothing those that we can, checking on each other and helping as best we can.
This is not about a delayed golf game. It’s not about the loss of cars or trucks. It’s not even about the homes or buildings anymore. It’s about the people! The human beings. Who can we save and how can we care for them?! Let’s survive this and help as many as we can.
Let’s be strong and carry on. That’s what WV does. That’s who we are. We are survivors and we are strong. We will carry on and we will carry each other.
In a June 26 follow-up Facebook post, Mrs. Agee responded to those who have thanked her for her eye-witness assessment of the disaster:
People are sending me an overwhelming amount of messages and they all say “thank you for what you’re doing.” Just for the record, I am not to be thanked. I am doing what any red blooded, God fearing, West Virginia girl would be doing at a time like this!
I just happen to have resources to tap into and awesome people to help me. I am not alone. God has sent me dozens, if not hundreds, of wonderful people and helpers that are the ones making everything possible. I love my home town and I love the people.
I am doing what I love. HELPING PEOPLE! I don’t need to be thanked. The real heroes are the ones that swam in freezing water to save lives; the ones who searched and rescued humans; the ones who got up today and shoveled their lives into trash bags and began to start over; the ones who are grieving loved ones and the ones that still haven’t been rescued yet.
Those are the heroes, the ones that are to be recognized and thanked! To God be the glory for all the rescue and relief effort! Thank you to all those helping and recovering. I love you all! I love Greenbrier County and I love all the people sending aid in. Together we will recover and Greenbrier County will rise again!
Prayers for West Virginia.