NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort volunteers spent Friday loading three trucks with $200,000 worth of supplies to send to the flooded areas of Eastern Kentucky and Western Virginia.
Parts of Appalachia were devastated by the record floods that struck after heavy rains in the region Thursday, July 28. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said at least 16 people have died, and he expected the number of dead to rise as rain continued hitting the area.
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“Think about, ‘What would I need if I just lost everything,’ and that’s what we try to provide,” Mike Lewis, Executive Director of Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort said.
There are 300 family food packs on each truck, which include enough to feed a family for around a week. The group also put together infant care packs and personal hygiene supplies and plan to give out buckets, bleach, wheel barrows and more that people can use to clean their homes once the flood waters recede.
In addition, volunteers will pack 1,500 more family food packs to have on standby. After that, the group will have five truck loads worth of supplies to send if needed.
“This is what we do all the time, so we’re always ready,” Lewis said.
One group that already has boots on the ground in Eastern Kentucky is the Tennessee National Guard, which sent 12 medivac aircraft supported units out of Knoxville. Many of its members are trained flight paramedics, while others specialize in swift water rescue.
Thursday alone, the Knoxville-based units pulled more than 20 people out of the water.
“Some of the aircraft were being tasked out directly to emergency calls; some of them were just surveying areas; and one of the air crews saw what looked like some distressed people on the ground and landed, sure enough, someone had been swept away by the flood waters, had been injured, and [we] took them to the hospital,” Captain Hulon Holmes, a National Guard flight facility commander said.
They plan to stay in Kentucky for at least a few days, according to Holmes, and crews in Knoxville are able to send additional supplies and gear if needed.
To make a donation to the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort, click here.