ALEXANDRIA, Va.—In just 48 hours, eight to 10.5 inches of rain fell in parts of Eastern Kentucky, Southern West Virginia and Western Virginia last week, leaving catastrophic damage. The death toll is at 37 lives and is expected to rise as numerous people are still unaccounted for, according to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.
Missy Matthews, president of Childers Oil Company/double kwik, which has 40 locations in Eastern Kentucky, described the situation as “beyond words.”
Double kwik is based in Whitesburg, Kentucky, which was particularly hard by the historic flooding. The area is at the headwaters of the Big Sandy River, the Cumberland River and the North Fork of the Kentucky River. The river that runs through Whitesburg is normally 10 feet wide and ankle deep, but once the North Fork crested at 20.9 feet, the area downstream of the river was completely devasted for 60 miles.
More than two dozen double kwik employees were deeply impacted by the flooding, with some losing everything they owned.
In response, double kwik transformed its distribution center into an unloading and reloading zone for relief deliveries. The center is less than a mile from the high school, which is now the headquarters for relief deliveries.
Benjamin Gish, editor at The Mountain Eagle based in Whitesburg, Kentucky, described the area’s situation on Facebook. “The situation is beyond awful and as a result of what has to be a once-in-a-million years flash flood,” he wrote.
“The flash-flooding came without warning and caused hurricane-like destruction due to the sheer force of water from little streams that are normally six inches deep but grew to 10 feet deep in a matter of two or three hours … Nearly every person in our county of 20,000-plus has been affected by this event, and more communities than not have nearly been wiped out.”
To help those impacted by the devastation, the Pine Mountain Partnership has flood relief information for those located in Eastern Kentucky, including what donation items are in need, where to drop off the items and how to volunteer as an individual or group.
Additionally, Gov. Beshear has established the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund to assist those impacted by the floods.
The NACS Foundation Response Relief program partners with the American Red Cross to support the urgent humanitarian needs of the American Red Cross and spotlights the convenience and fuel retailing industry’s important role in supporting local heroes and the communities we serve. You can donate to the American Red Cross here.