East Kentucky experiences more flooding and natural disasters
By: Bryan Li
For the past few days, Hazard, Kentucky has been experiencing dangerous flash flooding. Officials have reported that at least 25 lives have been lost since last Saturday, and the number will still increase for the next few weeks.
Most of the devastation is occurring in several counties around the eastern area of the state. These areas weren’t as developed as others, and that left them exposed to these floods. “These places were not thriving before,” Jason Bailey, the executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy stated, “To even get back to where they were is a long road.”
In Knott and Letcher Counties, the infrastructure and lives lost are beyond words. In Knott County 14 people have died. “The pure catastrophic loss is hard to put into words,” says Dan Mosley of Harlan County. “I’ve just never seen anything like this in my career or even my life,” he said.
Many homes have been flooded and damaged, and many of the homeowners have evacuated to churches, gyms, and other buildings. A Red Cross worker, Tracy Counts, offered the evacuees baby wipes in a church since there was no running water.
The National Guard and local firefighters have been getting involved, saving over 1,400 lives.
However, there is something about the spirit of Kentucky that lifts them up during the darkest times and gives them so much grit. “I wish I could tell you why we keep getting hit here in Kentucky,” said Governor Andy Beshear, “I wish I could tell you why areas where people may not have much continue to get hit and lose everything. I can’t give you the why, but I know what we do in response to it. And the answer is everything we can.”
They have also had some outside help. 300 miles away, Bremen, Kentucky had to endure a disastrous tornado last year. After that disaster, a small town near Hazard, Hindman, went to help. So, when Hindman was hit hard by the floods last week, Bremen’s mayor, Allen Miller, said “it’s time for me to return the favor” and he sent truck-loads of supplies over.
Every person in every county is trying their best to help as many people as possible. Judge Mosley, an officer in the Kentucky Association of Counties said “this would be unsurvivable” if not for everyone’s help and support. “The federal government’s resources and our faith in God is the only thing that’s going to get us through this,” he adds.