BUCHANAN COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – One week after devastating floods tore through Buchanan County and displaced several residents, those same victims are reliant on the generosity of others to get by.
“I was trying to get some assistance because I lost everything,” said Bobby King, Jr. King lived on Dismal River Road prior to July’s floods. “I have one change of clothes. Just supplies to help along where I’m staying with my sister.”
The floods impacted hundreds of people, with assessments conducted by the Virginia Emergency Management Agency estimating that 30 homes were destroyed and more than 100 others damaged or affected.
“I ain’t never experienced nothing like this before,” said Earl Looney, another victim of the floods. Looney said what he needs most are items like clean water, toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
Buchanan County is not without hope or help, however. Hundreds of volunteers from various agencies and organizations have responded to the area offering aid in the form of donations and manpower.
“We have people, volunteers here from Lee County, which is the tip of the state, all the way up to Chesapeake,” said Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Sharon Dixon. “We’ve had over 40 something volunteers and staff that’s either been boots on the ground or they’ve been working virtually to support this disaster relief operation.”
The Red Cross is set up at two sites in Buchanan County where volunteers are handing out more than 500 meals each day. The Red Cross is also sending crews out into the affected areas to assess the damage.
“We take teams and go out into the community and assess the damage to each person’s home,” Dixon said. “With the American Red Cross, we are able to help the residents in so many different ways. We’re able to offer some financial assistance.”
In addition, the Red Cross can help those with mobility issues. Dixon said anyone who has lost items like walkers or lift chairs can work with the organization to find a replacement.
While some organizations offer financial assistance, others are focused on areas like emotional support, prescriptions and medical needs. The Health Wagon has been assisting flood victims by replacing glasses lost in the floods and offering other vital services.
“We can give people eyeglass vouchers, and they can also go in and take this voucher and get a comprehensive eye exam because, unfortunately, people lost glasses in the flood as well,” said Dr. Teresa Owns-Tyson, CEO and President of the Health Wagon. “And the other thing is tetanus immunization.”
Those who are going through hardship are thankful both for the outpouring of support and for their lives.
“I really appreciate everything, it’s a blessing to know that somebody cares,” said Angela Johnson, King’s sister. “My brother lived. Everything else can be replaced, but he’s alive.”
To donate to the Buchanan County 2022 Disaster Fund, text GIVE to 276-200-2440 or click here.