By August 1, 2017 Read More →

Officials seek those in need in flood assistance

By DARLENE SWIGER

The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va.  — Residents and businesses in the northern portion of Harrison County are busy cleaning up after the worst flash flooding in decades. Officials are assessing the damage and compiling information on the needs of those affected.

Harrison County Emergency Services Director Paul Bump estimates 50 or fewer homes were affected in the area of Wallace, Wyatt, Bingamon, Wyatt, Joetown, Margaret and Peora.

“We are still taking information for the assessment. We’re trying to determine how much of an issue we have with flood debris,” Bump said. “We’re working to determine the extent of damages.”

West Virginia Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters is coordinating the local and statewide efforts to provide volunteers and supplies for cleanup or other needs.

Cathy Rennard, West Virginia VOAD flood disaster coordinator, works with emergency operations offices and individuals to compile information on where the need is.

“Once we have an idea of what we need, we deploy volunteers and supplies to fulfill the needs of the communities,” she said.

Anyone who needs assistance is asked to call 1-844-WVFLOOD.

“We have long-standing VOAD partners who are already on the distribution list. People who want to get involved as volunteers are asked to call (304) 928-9595,” Rennard said. “Once we know where the concentration of needs are, we will take steps for a Volunteer Reception Center. The North Central area is the focus of efforts (Monday). Depending on the need — most of that is cleanup and getting debris to the streets — we’ll be doing intakes on where the needs are and match them up with volunteer teams.”

A database is being formed called Crisis Cleanup. Member organizations, such as churches, can go into the database and claim specific work orders where they are operating, which is ongoing.

The website is Crisiscleanup.org or they can call 1-800-451-1954.

“We also coordinate information on shelters and the American Red Cross takes the lead. If there is a shelter in need of volunteer services or supplies, we would work to coordinate that as well,” she said. “There will be some centralized mechanism for coordinating relief, and we will definitely be taking care of those communities.”

It is imperative that VOAD receive information from people in need of their services.

“This is when WV VOAD shines. This is what we do. The best thing people can do is get us information. If areas are not being served, we want to know.”

Meanwhile, most of those affected in Harrison County have returned to their homes, although a few have had major damage and are staying with relatives, Bump said.

“We are aware of a few houses with two feet of water inside. There were several inches of water in some houses in Wallace,” Bump said.

Anybody with life threatening issues or unable to stay in their home may contact the non-emergency 911 Center line at (304) 623-6559.

Bump expects the local state of emergency to be lifted by Wednesday or Thursday.

Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for Harrison, Marion, Marshall, Wetzel, Monongalia and Ohio counties Saturday evening and mobilized the West Virginia National Guard to assist in the affected areas.

Harrison County Emergency Management is monitoring the debris and will make arrangements for haul-away assistance as warranted.

Officials with Lewis, Upshur, Doddridge, Barbour and Taylor said they did not receive reports of any major flooding.

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