(HUNTINGTON, W.V.) — West Virginia residents in need have received an outpouring of donations in the wake of a devastating flood that has left parts of the state stuck in “standing deep water” and at least 24 dead, according to a spokesman for the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WVDHSEM).
WVDHSEM spokesman Timothy Rock told ABC News that while some of the flood waters that had shocked residents on Friday had receded, other areas remained in serious need of emergency assistance.
“Our primary focus is to make sure that everyone is accounted for,” Rock said, regarding the ongoing rescue efforts.
According to WVDHSEM, 500 homes have been severely damaged or destroyed in Roane County, which is a 484-square-mile area with a little over 14,000 residents, according to census data.
“The people who have lost homes here have lost literally everything,” Rock said.
The West Virginia National Guard has placed 300 troops on the ground to support the rescue effort, and the state’s Health and Human Resources Division has received requests from several counties for tetanus vaccinations, which have been coordinated for delivery and distribution, WVDHSEM said in a statement.
Jerrad Riggs, general manager at Black Sheep Burrito and Brews in Huntington, West Virginia, has helped to oversee a donation drive at his restaurant, and told ABC News in a phone interview that the outpouring of generosity he has witnessed was “immediate.” He described the mood in the state Sunday as “far from comfort but past panic.”
“Some people came from as far as Dayton, Ohio,” Riggs said of the donation efforts. “There was a pick-up truck filled with bottled water.”
Despite the speed and size of the donation efforts, Riggs said West Virginia has a long way to go before the state could claim a recovery.
“I think that for the communities that are affected by this flood, there is no sense of relaxation,” he said. “We have entire towns underwater.”
He also described West Virginian residents as being quick to come together in times of crisis.
“I think that West Virginia is sometimes looked down upon [nationally],” he said. “But we are survivors with a survivors mentality and fighting to protect our land.”
The devastation caused by the flood led the PGA to cancel a tour event, The Greenbrier Classic, which was scheduled to be played in the state July 7-10. The course was extensively damaged and could not be repaired in time, the PGA said.
“We are heartbroken by the devastation that the residents of West Virginia are experiencing at this time and the reports of lives lost due to the terrible flooding,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement. “Canceling the Greenbrier Classic is certainly the most prudent course of action as our foremost concern is the well-being of those who are having to live through this tragic situation.”
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Recent posts in National News