Lasting well over a week, the flash floods that descended on communities in Eastern Kentucky on July 24 have submerged entire cities underwater.
This is the worst series of floods that the state has faced in its entire history, causing important municipal infrastructures to collapse, isolating regional communities and ripping houses off their foundations.
Send Relief has already delivered three truckloads of flood relief supplies, 350 crisis backpacks filled with hygiene items and first aid kits and over 600 N-95 masks to survivors, with ongoing projects in place as our teams partner with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) to continue distributing 5,000 meals a week to hurting families.
“The scenes on the ground in Whitesburg, Kentucky, are heartbreaking. Many of those impacted were already among the most poverty-stricken communities in the region,” Send Relief’s Crisis Response Director Coy Webb stated. “The flooding has devastated communities across the mountains and will leave long-lasting scars on families. Tragically, it will take decades for many people to recover fully from their losses. Send Relief continues to bring flood clean-up supplies and food rations to mobile kitchens, and I am deeply thankful to the Southern Baptists who have given graciously to Send Relief, as this empowers us to meet real needs and offer the hope of Christ when disasters like this ravage people’s lives.”
Every person who enters the food distribution line is presented with the gospel and asked by a local chaplain if they would like prayer. Hundreds of people are hearing about the love of Jesus every day.
On one food delivery run, a young father shared that he had to hold his one-month-old above his head while his wife carried their toddler on her shoulders just to keep the children above the rising waterline. The couple had just gotten out of debt when the floods destroyed their house.
Another woman didn’t know the floods were coming until she heard her neighbor’s dogs yelping. When she opened her front door to see what the commotion was, she stepped onto a completely flooded porch. Running to get her daughter with special needs dressed, she waited for her neighbor to steer a canoe over to deliver lifejackets. After they were rescued, the current swept them out to the street, plunging them into a telephone pole and tossing them out of the boat into the muddied waters. Gripping the pole with one hand and her daughter with the other, the woman cried out that she couldn’t hold on any longer just as an adjacent neighbor came to their rescue. She told our teams, “I would have drowned without them.”
Karen Smith, Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief Feeding Coordinator, is leading the response in Whitesburg, as it is her hometown. When asked about how this has impacted her relief efforts, Smith commented through tears, “This experience has been very emotional. I have former classmates, friends and family still living here. We’ve lost dozens of our friends here in town so far and 11 of our Baptist Association buildings, and there are still many missing persons. Please pray for our people to have hope and that God will restore our joy. We need endurance from the Lord, as there are storms coming in this week and we are on flood watch again. People are so overwhelmed and scared to go through this all over again. We are so grateful for the teams who have come in to offer help, and I would say gift cards and volunteers are the most helpful offerings at this point. We always say that the church is not confined by walls, and what is giving me hope right now is that we are seeing that in action.”
If you would like to help those suffering from the flooding in Kentucky, click here for updates and the opportunity to give to hurting families today.
Published August 11, 2022