CHARLESTON, WV (WCMH) — Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers are helping victims in flood-ravaged parts of West Virginia, including 15 from Central Ohio.
The needs are enormous, from money, to food, to cleaning supplies and safe shelter. So far Red Cross volunteers have handed out more than 10,000 meals, bottled water and thousands of cleaning supplies.
But one volunteer said the heat and humidity are taking a toll on flood victims and workers.
For two days hundreds of shopper were stranded on a virtual island in Elkview after the Little Sandy Creek washed out the only bridge access.
Five miles up the road from that disaster, Fred Walker and his wife raced to beat the wall of water descending on their home along Jordan Creek. Walker said when they realized the creek 20 feet behind his home was turning into a river, he tried get his vehicles out.
“The water was starting in the side door of my garage and I said, ‘we got to get out of here,’” Walker said.
But downed trees and high water blocked the only road out. He tried to hike out.
“By that time it was too high and I couldn’t get back, and it knocked me down into the borrow ditch and caught my leg in a drainage ditch. I was under water and it kept me there.” Walker said his wife was watching and screaming. He said another neighbor tried to help him and was washed down the road. He is not sure how he got out.
“I say the good Lord did it, because I had done run out of energy and run out of air.”
Hundreds of homes 10 to 20 miles north of Charleston were either washed away, knocked off their foundations or submerged in a wall of water and mud.
Near the Elk River most of downtown Clendenin was submerged, destroying the Dairy Queen and grocery store on Main Street.
“It was over the roofs of multiple houses, we had stories from people watching animals, dogs being swept away out of their houses,” said State Senator and American Red Cross Volunteer Chris Walters.
He said the suffering continues even though the flood waters have receded.
“Most people have heard of 100-year flood plains, they have compared this to a thousand year flood,” Walters said. He is in charge of the distribution center in the parking lot of the damaged Smith Food fair grocery store. That is one of dozens of relief centers passing out food, bottled water and cleaning supplies.
Walters said, “most of these folks don’t have flood insurance and even with FEMA here helping, the immediate needs are so great.”
He said he is proud of the indomitable spirit of West Virginians, but asks others to help by either volunteering or donating to the American Red Cross.
On Friday, 4’s Army will be back in action! The Red Cross will be at NBC4 and at Red, White & BOOM! Central on July 1, collecting donations to help flood victims in West Virginia.
There will be a phone bank in studio Friday from 5-11:35 p.m. Anyone wishing to donate can call 614-821-4444 on that day.
People can also donate to those affected in the West Virginia Floods by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word WVFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to West Virginia Floods enable the Red Cross to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from these disasters.
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