After coal, the residents of Eastern Kentucky sought a new beginning. The floods then followed

On Friday, volunteers assist in clearing flood debris out of Messenger Florist and Gifts in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Government-run shelters are now home to hundreds of families, according to the office of Governor Andy Beshear.

For NPR in Whitsburg, Kentucky, Jeff Dean Brian Lucas, a resident of Kentucky, evacuated with his wife, two children, dog, and cat out the back and up the side of a hill one night in late July as the small creek in front of his house turned into a raging torrent.

Following the record floods in eastern Kentucky, which has so far resulted in the deaths of 37 people, they have since been lodging with family while dealing with insurance adjusters.

Lucas views his good fortune. However, the only home his 10- and 15-year-old children have ever known is a total loss.

He told NPR while standing in the mud in what used to be his front yard: “I’m not planning to leave eastern Kentucky. How high the water rises doesn’t matter to me. Do I want to reside here, though? Most likely not.”

On Thursday, Brian Lucas examined the flood damage close to his home in Isom, Kentucky. NPR’s Jeff Dean hide caption
switch to caption For NPR, Jeff Dean

On Thursday, Brian Lucas examined the flood damage close to his home in Isom, Kentucky.

NPR’s Jeff Dean Getting food, water, and medicines to isolated people is one of the immediate obstacles of disaster relief in this region of Appalachia. Eastern Kentucky’s efforts to transition away from coal have also been hampered by the floods, which have also forced inhabitants out of areas with already hard to come by and flat land suitable for building new ones is scarce rated affordable housing.

Over a dozen counties were affected by the inland floods, a calamity made worse by climate change. Families in the hundreds have relocated to government-run shelters, according to Gov. Andy Beshear’s office .

On Wednesday, a Hindman Fire Department truck was trapped beneath a bridge. NPR’s Jeff Dean hide caption
switch to caption For NPR, Jeff Dean

On Wednesday, a Hindman Fire Department truck was trapped beneath a bridge.

NPR’s Jeff Dean Just across the street from his flooded home in Isom, Kentucky, and a few miles from his childhood home, Lucas and his family have been residing with his in-laws.

“Family is really important to us. There are families that have been in close proximity to one another for their entire lives “explained he.

PIECEMAKING A SENSE OF NORMALCY AFTER TRAGEDY As coal mining in the area has decreased, Health care and education have become some of the region’s biggest employment.

The Lucas family is well aware of these changes in the economy. He went back to school to become a nurse at Appalachian Regional Healthcare, one of the single largest employers in the area, as Lucas’ father was a coal truck driver who kept getting laid off. Lucas currently oversees the hospital’s medical equipment.

Numerous ARH staff members have lost their houses. According to Tim Hatfield, an official who is in charge of six of the ARH’s hospitals, the organization has sent supplies to communities high in the mountains and offered accommodation to some of them. Additionally, the group loaned Lucas a truck to operate when the water ruined his automobiles.

On Thursday, Prestonsburg’s Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center employees loaded water bottles into a Kentucky National Guard truck. NPR’s Jeff Dean hide caption

switch to caption For NPR, Jeff Dean

On Thursday, Prestonsburg’s Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center employees loaded water bottles into a Kentucky National Guard truck.

NPR’s Jeff Dean Another characteristic of this region, according to Lucas, is that people look out for one another and take pride in being able to fend for themselves even in the face of catastrophe. That is one of the reasons he went to his neighborhood barbershop following the flood, despite everything else going on.

“That is a small company. What happens if you don’t spend money at the little business that was also affected by the flood? They are no longer around, “said he.

Before the floods, a number of groups—including the Mountain Association—had been working to boost and diversify the local economy and create jobs in the area.
According to Betsy Whaley, the Association’s chief strategy officer, “Corporate America will not invest in this place.”

They want to offer small loans to small businesses to assist them recover after the tragedy, but more funding will be needed, she added, to help them climb out of the hole the floods dug for them.

Businesses and organizations in the area prepare for economic hardship.

On Friday in Whitesburg, volunteers assist in clearing flood debris from Messenger Florist and Gifts. NPR’s Jeff Dean hide caption

switch to caption Volunteers assist in clearing flood debris from Messenger Florist and Gifts in Whitesburg on Friday. Jeff Dean for NPR

.

NPR’s Jeff Dean The decrease of coal mining caused mass layoffs in the region, and many have given up their operations, resulting in moved away . Whaley is now concerned that climate change, which exacerbates inland flooding like this, is posing a new problem for the area. And that might result in more locals moving away.

Small business expansion efforts that took years to complete have practically been swept away overnight. Whaley gave the IGA grocery store owner in Isom, Gwen Christon, as an example.

Before the floods started, Christon invested money in renovations like a new HVAC system, coolers, and solar panels, according to Whaley.

Christon told The Herald-Leader, Although it would be excessively expensive to prepare the store for a reopening, the neighborhood would lose a significant source of revenue if it were to permanently close.

A food desert exists where her store is, according to Whaley.

The schools, another important institution, have also been harmed. Letcher County school superintendent Denise Yonts sobbed as she described their losses at a recent meeting called by the Kentucky Department of Education : two staff members were killed, six schools were damaged.

She addressed the audience, “Our community as a whole is crushed.

On Thursday, debris was present both inside and outside the Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church in Whitesburg. NPR’s Jeff Dean hide caption
switch to caption On Thursday in Whitesburg, debris was seen inside and outside the Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church. Jeff Dean for NPR

.
Jeff Dean for NPR As administrators rush to find adequate unharmed space for students, districts throughout the area are delaying their start dates.
The region’s extreme rurality poses one difficulty. A long travel over winding mountain roads might be required if you transfer to a different institution.
According to U.S. Census data, poverty is another ongoing issue that affects around 25% of the residents in the flooded counties.
Superintendent of Perry County Jonathan Jett noted, “The unfortunate aspect is some of the towns hit were some of the most impoverished.”
He fears that many people who have lived here for many generations may decide to leave after this catastrophe.
If people left this place, Jett believed they will never return.

THE PROCESS OF REBUILDING BEGINS

On Wednesday, Doug Naselroad examines recent flood damage at the Appalachian School of Leathercraft in Hindman. NPR’s Jeff Dean hide caption

switch to caption For NPR, Jeff Dean

On Wednesday, Doug Naselroad examines recent flood damage at the Appalachian School of Leathercraft in Hindman.

NPR’s Jeff Dean Finding clean water, locating new residences, and cleaning up mud and mold from flood-damaged structures are among the urgent issues affecting the majority of eastern Kentucky.

Doug Naselroad was there Thursday in the storefront that housed his stringed instrument construction school, the Appalachian School of Luthiery , in Hindman, Kentucky, where the downtown had flooded.

The Troublesome Creek Stringed Instrument Company, named after the brook that passes through town, is another enterprise run by Naselroad. The fine brown mud that covered the factory and school and destroyed valuable machinery and guitars was spread there by the same creek.

“The folks of Hindman are wonderful. I cherish my boys. I detest the brook “said Naselroad.

Doug Naselroad examines the Troublesome Creek Stringed Instrument Co. factory’s recent flood damage on the left. Right: The facility is showing signs of recent flooding. NPR’s Jeff Dean hide caption

switch to caption For NPR, Jeff Dean

Doug Naselroad examines the Troublesome Creek Stringed Instrument Co. factory’s recent flood damage on the left. Right: The facility is showing signs of recent flooding.

NPR’s Jeff Dean The school also has a social objective, teaching high-quality instrument making to those who are referred from drug courts and neighborhood recovery organizations. Some become talented enough to be employed to work at the factory, according to Naselroad.

“I have some folks going through significant psychological distress, and this is not helpful for people in recovery,” he stated.

Although cleaning the facility thoroughly and using a lot of Lysol is the first order of business, according to Naselroad, he is already considering how to turn what happened into a fresh opportunity.

He intends to continue paying his employees’ payroll. He speculated that they might create a special version of already hard to come by 0 using flood-resistant wood.

“Rebuilding a factory, in my opinion, would be beneficial. Come what may, we’re going to take care of them “He laughed as he stated. But regardless of what happens, that is the truth.

After recent flooding, a truck was left sitting in the water near Hindman on Wednesday. NPR’s Jeff Dean hide caption
switch to caption For NPR, Jeff Dean

After recent flooding, a truck was left sitting in the water near Hindman on Wednesday.
NPR’s Jeff Dean

More Stories From Dailymailpost

Popular on Dailymailpost.com

Subscribe to Updates
Get the latest creative news from FooBar about art, design and business.