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Flood recovery varies in scope across Appalachia Kentucky

Floyd County Flood Victim Moe Barnett
Stu Johnson
Floyd County Flood Victim Moe Barnett

Many eastern Kentucky communities suffered significant damage and loss during the July flood event. There were also spots in Appalachia Kentucky where the damage wasn’t as catastrophic but still impactful. Moe Barnett lives in Floyd County near Turkey Creek. He said he saw the nearby creek rising and receding a bit before a big surge.

“Creek slowed down and then all at once I hollered up at everybody and told them better be moving stuff. So, we just grabbed what we could. Came up faster than anything. Set a pretty garden down there first time since we’ve been here 16 years and it got everything. Big red tomatoes hanging there,” said Barnett.

Volunteers came last Friday to help clean out a basement. Almost a month after the rains, a pump was still needed to remove a small amount of water.

Eastern Kentucky has seen droves of volunteers over the last month, coming to help with flood recovery. One of the organizations coordinating those efforts is Christian Appalachian Project. CAP has a mission complex in Floyd County. Michaela Fisher is a counselor at the Paintsville office. She led a volunteer debriefing last week. Fisher said these individuals can feel a sense of empathetic trauma.

“It results from empathetically engaging with trauma survivors, as helpers as we all are here. That puts us at risk for that, so yeah, we here at CAP kind of recognize that need and we just want to serve our servers and kind of make sure that everybody is ok,” said Fisher.

A debriefing includes an opportunity for volunteers to express any thoughts or feelings regarding a day at a flood-damaged residence.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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