WAVERLY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nearly one year after catastrophic flooding killed 20 people in Humphreys County, some in Waverly are disappointed with the slow recovery.
Waverly’s government housing still sits empty and many units have X’s on the doors, signifying there was a death inside.
Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis told News 2 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has not yet issued recovery funding to rebuild the public housing, and it could be a while before they do because of the appraisal process.
While he believes FEMA has been helpful, especially for the school district, he said the process of getting the funding has been slow and complex. Davis added many in Waverly may have had unrealistic expectations of the help FEMA can offer, which has led to more disappointment.
“It’s heartbreaking to see that people have that expectation, and when people leave those meetings they’re leaving with head in hand,” Davis said.
More than 200 students left the Humphreys County School District after the flood, and many homes sit vacant, making Davis wonder where they went and realize some may never return.
“One of the things that I’ve realized that is so very hard to talk about is that our home will never be the same,” Davis said. “Waverly, Tennessee and Humphreys County will never be the same as before.”
Davis believes local leaders should work to educate the people of Waverly about FEMA and the help the government group can provide.
In the meantime, he told News 2 he’ll work to make sure the public outside of the city doesn’t forget about Waverly, and he’ll hope more help is on the way.
“To know those lives are lost, they’ll never be the same, and to look around at the landmarks, they’ll never be the same, but we’ve got to grow, we’ve got to put things back together the best we can, and we’ve got to make this the very best place we can for future to come,” Davis said.
Thousands in Humphreys County and other areas impacted by the flood have received millions of dollars in FEMA assistance.
In addition, FEMA promised to cover 90% of recovery costs for Humphreys County Schools, and the state will cover an additional 5%.