One Year Later, Hard Times for Kentucky Flood Victims

July 26, 2011

Along a newly paved road at Harless Creek in Kentucky’s Pike County, dozens of new vehicles and a handful of new modular homes point to progress since severe flooding hit the area a year ago.

At Raccoon Creek, freshly cut lawns surround homes decked out with flower beds.

For some, life has returned to normal since the flooding on July 17, 2010. But for others, life is far from perfect.

At Harless Creek, flood-damaged houses continue to be demolished. Homes on hillsides with badly damaged foundations sit askew with gaping holes in their walls.

At Raccoon Creek, empty property tracts where homes once stood are reminders of the disaster.

Recounting the horrors of the flooding is still difficult for some, the Appalachian News-Express reported.

Victims watched as their homes washed away. The flood took Raccoon Creek resident John Justice by surprise, since high water had never inundated his property.

Justice had walked to a neighbor’s home to check on her. For four hours, they sat atop furniture as the floodwaters rose.

When the water had receded enough to allow him to walk home to check on his home and his wife, Liddie, he found that the floodwaters had carried his house away. He said it’s a miracle his wife wasn’t hurt or killed.

They intend to rebuild their home at Raccoon Creek. But their plans have been derailed since they are still responsible for the mortgage on their former home. The mortgage-holder has done little to work with the couple since the disaster, he said.

“I’m not asking to get out of (the mortgage),” he told the newspaper. “I’m just asking for help.”

Jewelene Elam and her daughter, Teresa, lost their Raccoon Creek home and most of their possessions to the flood. Now living in a mobile home, the two are not only struggling to move on, but are dealing with sickness associated with the flood.

Elam said she and her daughter were neck-deep in water at the height of the flood and since then they have been sick several times. They are also dealing with depression and weight loss, which doctors have told them is associated with the loss of their home.

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