A “mountain of debris,” displaced residents and insurance company refusals to pay followed last week’s Nicholas County flooding but so did the donations, relief efforts and offers of help.
Cleanup continues after rain-driven floodwater swept into the area early Friday, washing away cars and buildings. At least one person died, according to WKYT, the Herald-Leader’s reporting partner.
After visiting the area Tuesday afternoon with Lt. Gov. Jaqueline Coleman, Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency, saying “we are grateful for the immediate outpouring of assistance for Nicholas County provided by numerous volunteers and members of Team Kentucky, but our people still need help.”
He sent a letter to President Joe Biden, asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to conduct preliminary damage assessments.
About 80 homes and 30 businesses were damaged when the storm dropped 4.07 inches of rain on Nicholas County, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
The release said the city’s sewer system still isn’t functioning, and Nicholas County officials estimate more than $1.5 million in infrastructure damage.
Judge-Executive Steve Hamilton had previously declared a local state of emergency in the county.
Residents and businesses have taken stock of the damage and began the process of cleaning and rebuilding. The Carlisle mayor, Ronnie Clark, said the city has a “mountain of debris,” and many residents are displaced after the flood destroyed their homes.
“We’re trying to help those in every which way that we can,” he said. “A lot [of people] are getting denials from their insurance company on payment because it’s a flood.”
The transportation cabinet has brought in heavy equipment to help clear debris in the city and is working to address standing water, according to the governor’s office.
Michael Dossett, director of Kentucky Emergency Management, said in the news release that the state is also working to set up a “multiagency recovery center that will leverage all state cabinets and state partners,” including “insurance, agriculture, volunteer assistance, disaster services and more.” A location should be announced within several days, he said.
Clark said the disaster impacted both residential and commercial properties; for example, the basement of a local furniture store flooded and ruined several mattresses and pieces of furniture.
The owners of a locally-owned restaurant in Carlisle, Tracks Restaurant, posted on Facebook about the damage to the building. “Yes we took a big hit but I’m counting my blessings because I have a home, bed and all my personal belongs to go home to tonight,” the post said. “I would not want to live anywhere else other than my little hometown of Carlisle, Ky.”
The National Guard Armory on Concrete Road is open for those needing shelter and is accepting donations of clothes, food and housewares. Clark also said there will be an account at a local bank where community members can donate money to go toward the relief costs.
Residents of Carlisle created a Facebook group called “Carlisle’s Comeback” where people can share information about needed items, free food available and updates about the relief efforts.
One member of the group, Bethaney Scrogham, said, “I just wanted to thank EVERYONE in the community for all the love and support we have received the past few days. It’s very overwhelming ... I’ve never seen a town pull together like this before.”
Local churches are also getting involved; CrossPoint Community Church posted on Facebook that it would be accepting items to donate to the residents of Nicholas County.
“There have been a lot of good people involved in trying to right this back up a little bit,” Clark said. “We’re here, and we’re surviving.”