Red Cross, WV VOAD moves in to flood zone to offer relief

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Volunteers are in flood ravaged parts of Kanawha and Fayette counties to offer cleaning supplies, resources and other basic needs after Monday’s storm damaged more than 100 homes.

Erica Mani

The American Red Cross Central Appalachia Region is among the groups who responded to the flood.

“We have case workers out in the field going to people’s front doors and making sure that we work with them to determine what we can do to meet their immediate disaster related needs,” said Red Cross Regional CEO Erica Mani.

Mani said they’ve been distributing bleach, buckets, mops, gloves, masks, trash bags and other cleaning supplies to help residents clean the water and mud out of their homes.

The Red Cross is responding to flood damage on a case-by-case basis.

“We know there will be some people who can recover very quickly because maybe the damage is a little more minor, whereas there are folks who have lost everything,” Mani said.

Jenny Gannaway, the executive director of West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD), said they found one family outside their flooded home for days.

A bridge over Hughes’ Creek is washed out after mountains of debris backed up behind it early Monday morning. (Photo by Jeff Jenkins)

“We put a family that had been sleeping in their car into a hotel last night,” Gannaway told MetroNews on Thursday. “We have a lot of families that are hurting.”

Part of WV VOAD’s work will include assessing the damage made to private bridges. A few bridges in the Hughes Creek area of Kanawha County collapsed in the high water, but there hasn’t been an official number of how many of those bridges need to be repaired.

“Not having a bridge to get to your home is like having a home without a front door,” Gannaway said. “We’ve got to make sure families have a safe access to get to their home.”

Volunteers are working with families to determine what they should toss out and what is salvageable before rebuilding.

Jenny Gannaway

“Mold is just as bad as having flood mud in your home. We want to get the wet dry wall out, let that dry out and then you can go in and start doing those repairs,” Gannaway said.

Gannaway said residents should document damage by taking photos so officials have a better understanding of their needs.

The Red Cross is looking for volunteers to help with disaster response efforts. Mani said they can get people trained fairly quickly.

“We need more volunteers than ever. We can get people trained and ready in about a week’s time if they want to be prepared to go out and help in disasters like this,” she said.

On Wednesday, West Virginia American Water announced that it will contribute up to $10,000 to the American Red Cross Central Appalachia Region to support flood relief efforts in Kanawha and Fayette counties.

The donation is a provided as a matching opportunity. To support the Red Cross’ local disaster relief, text “REDCROSS” to 90999, visit or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

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