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West Virginians continue to help Kentucky flood victims

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For the last week, WVRC Media and PR Plus Events have been cash and supplies for Backpacks for Disaster to help the flood ravaged residents of eastern Kentucky.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are scheduled to visit Kentucky Monday.

Captain Gary Amburgey with the Sandlick Volunteer Fire Department said some residents are slowly returning to their homes to salvage what they can and begin the long process of making their property habitable again.

“There are a lot of places with five, six, seven, eight inches of mud lined up everything,” Amburgey said. “There are a lot of places that will never come back to normal.”

Kentucky State Police trooper Matt Gayheart said their work has not slowed but the mission has evolved since flooding began. In many cases police are working with residents to help protect homes and businesses from theft.

“As of now we’re making sure supplies are being handed out where they need to be going and our priority right now is security patrols,” Gayheart said.

In addition to Backpacks for Disasters, relief supplies and organizations are flowing to multiple locations. Volunteers, residents and emergency workers are sorting the supplies for distribution throughout the area.

“We’re still going through and searching areas that were heavily hit by the flood and making sure people there have what they need to sustain themselves,” Gayheart said.

Some structure fires have been reported as electricity is restored and other areas still are without water and power. Exact numbers were not available at press time, but a large number of people are still using emergency shelters established when flash floods hit.

“The ones that are able to get back in are trying to recover what property they can salvage and seeing what’s damaged and starting to make repairs,” Gayheart said.

Emergency services suffered losses as well. Numerous police vehicles, equipment and facilities were destroyed or damaged in the initial surge of flood waters. According to Amburgey, The Letcher Fire Department lost their entire fleet including tankers, engines, equipment and their building. The fire department is operating out of a nearby elementary school.

Amburgey and Gayheart said drinking water, food, cleaning supplies and equipment and comfort items for adults and children in shelters are needed.

“We appreciate all West Virginia has done,” Amburgey said. “They stepped up really good and helped out our local police departments with donations cars and fire apparatuses, we really appreciate you very much.”

Backpack for Disaster donations can be left at the Greer Building at 1251 Earl Core Road or PR Plus Events at 150 Clay Street in Morgantown. Residents with donations they would to be picked up can call 304-288-4244.

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