‘There are people that still care’: Disaster recovery group still helping flood survivors in EKY

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 4:15 PM EST
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BREATHITT COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - During a time when hope seemed hard to find, Eastern Kentuckians saw many people rise to the occasion.

“Local volunteers and volunteers from Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas and North Carolina,” said Joe Caraveo, Rise Disaster Relief and Recovery Director of Operations.

Over the past six months, the mountains have had hundreds of relief groups from across the country come to help but very few remain. However, one organization known as Rise Disaster Relief and Recovery still has their boots on the ground.

“The focus is always very big, very extensive at the beginning of the storm when the storm hits,” said Caraveo. “But after two to three months that support wanes and then people are left holding the bag. People that can’t afford to do anything.”

Rise volunteers chose to weather the storm and have returned again and again to continue helping Eastern Kentucky.

“We’re just constantly working and right now we’re in the recovery process where we’re trying to get people back into homes,” Pam Harvey, Kentucky operations manager for Rise Recovery and Relief. “Because I can’t imagine especially the elderly and the children you know how unstable it is.”

Harvey is a Breathitt County native and connected with Rise after the flood. She said she sees the need for help and knows Rise will not let Eastern Kentucky be forgotten.

“There’s people that still care and that’s the key right there,” said Harvey. “It’s still devastation everywhere. We have got to get more volunteers. We need donations so bad.”

Volunteers like Joe, who are not from Kentucky, stuck around because he still sees a heartbreaking amount of devastation.

“No matter how strong you think you are, you do break down,” said Caraveo.

He said he is captivated by Eastern Kentucky and driven to help the people that are still in need.

“We’re touched by the people that are here. That are in dire need,” he added. “The other day I caught myself telling my wife that I’m home when I got here because that’s the way it feels.”

Rise Disaster Relief and Recovery is based out of North Carolina.

Harvey said due to them being a new company, they still heavily rely on donations such as food, building materials and monetary support.

If you would like to help support their efforts, you can find their Facebook here.

You can also contact them over the phone by calling 980-825-RISE (7473).