Guard helps with flood debris removal in McDowell County

WELCH, W.Va.¬†—¬†More than 20 soldiers with the West Virginia National Guard are deployed to McDowell County. The members of the 111th Engineering Brigade are assigned to help with flood cleanup in the county after recent high water.

“With some of the recent high water, we had a lot of rain and they’re assisting citizens of McDowell County with removing debris that piled up due to that high water situation,” said Major Hollie Nelson of the National Guard.

McDowell County suffered the hardest hit from the high water earlier this month. Most of the damage involved basements and homes in low lying areas along Elkhorn Creek and the upper reaches of the Tug Fork River.

Two of the guard members are liaison officers who are working with McDowell County Office of Emergency Services to assess damages and the needs of residents in the wake of the flood.

“If people had some damaged property, they can put it out on the roadside for the guard to pick it up. If there’s a buildup of debris along the roadside, we’ll pick that up as well,” Nelson said.

The Guard has four skid steer machines, 10 dump trucks, and other machinery helping in the event. Nelson said they anticipated being completely finished with the debris removal by Friday, but that will be up to county emergency officials.

“They’re working hand and hand to assess that damage and then provide technical expertise as to what the National Guard can provide for recovery,” Nelson said.

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