‘There’s strength in numbers’: Officials share update two months after devastating floods

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Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 9:34 PM EDT
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FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - On July 28, historic floods ravaged many communities throughout Eastern Kentucky. Now, two months later, officials are sharing updates on how folks in their communities are returning to their new normal.

In the city of Hindman in Knott County, Mayor Tracy Neice says many folks have started rebuilding, but some are even still removing debris.

“Different areas of the county are at different stages,” said Neice. “There’s a lot of people here in the city limits that are at the possibility of rebuilding stage, there’s some still at the stage of, you know, debris removal.”

In Floyd County, the Garrett and Wayland communities were among the most affected, and many families have not yet returned to their homes.

“We’ve got a lot of folks that are still displaced,” said Floyd County Judge-Executive Robbie Williams. “We’ve got over 50 families that are still living in the lodge and cabins over there, we have folks in campers, not only at Dewey Lake but at Mine Made Park in Knott County.”

Along with physical losses, officials are also worried about the psychological impacts of the flooding, including PTSD.

“They have lost loved ones, they’ve lost all of their belongings, they’ve lost their livelihood, people that are self-employed, they’ve lost their homes, they have nothing to return to,” said Niece. “It will leave people scarred for a long time, it is very traumatizing.”

Officials are also focused on sticking together and helping each other despite each having their own challenges.

“If we don’t support each other, we’re not going to get anything. There’s strength in numbers, and we understand that, and we stick together,” said Judge Williams. “We don’t always agree on everything, but at the end of the day, I tell folks we don’t have to agree on everything.”

Neice added that, during times of devastation such as this, city limits and county lines disappear and it is all hands on deck for folks across the region.

Both Neice and Williams both added that, despite being two months into recovery, folks across the region still need assistance.