Saturday, June 25, 2016

My Home, My Heart

I have a heavy feeling in my heart for my home, West Virginia, and its current state of flooding disaster. If you watch the news, you have heard that we were devastated by heavy rains in a 24 hr period on June 23, 2016. Of 55 counties, 44 have been declared disaster areas, with the current death toll at 23, an undetermined number still unaccounted for, as several hundred were stranded in a nearby shopping area for two days where a road washed out. Our people are resilient, but this was an historic flood of 1,000 year magnitude - yes, 1,000 - in one area particularly, close to where I reside.
We are safe in our home, even though we live parallel to the river which receives most of the waters from the smaller streams in the hardest hit areas. The photo below shows the water mark on our riverbank just after the rains on June 24, and again on June 25 after the waters receded somewhat. Note the steel pylons in the water (left of frame) and the differences in the water levels. All the residual mud used to be grass.
The above water is nothing compared to the state of affairs and losses of others. The most remarkable - even surreal - footage seen on national television came from White Sulphur Springs, WV, when a house exploded into fire, and was carried off by the force of the water.
The owner of the home was in her attic when the house exploded, and sustained burns over 70% of her body. Her daughter started this GoFundMe page. I certainly hope she receives as much attention in the aftermath as her burning home did in the news. (Postscript: Sadly, the woman in this house expired on June 26th, 2016, according to the link.)

The historic WV Greenbrier, America's Resort, which I've written about before (here), was hit very hard, and the immediate implication is the PGA tournament leg, the Greenbrier Classic, has necessarily been cancelled (scheduled for July 7-10). The golf course, along with many of the resort's structures, were seriously damaged, and the cleanup efforts will be huge. Tourism is one of the only things West Virginia has going for it, and that's just been put in jeopardy, too.

Right now in our capital city, the arts community is in the midst of a twelve day FestivALL, where "a city becomes a work of art". It would have been easy to cancel this series of events pre-scheduled for this weekend, but instead, it has become a conduit for partnership in flood relief. Red Cross is working with the city, and donation stations are set up in all the major venues of the events planned. I attended the street fair today, with many artisans selling their wares downtown. We all show our love and support in whatever way we can, and I am happy to say the turnout was fantastic today.

I'm sure I speak for all of our state's residents when I say we covet your prayers for strength in our attempts to recover from this disaster. We are all affected.

Thank you to all who've reached out, checking on my status.

Rita C. at Panoply
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