Flooded Hurley community faces long road to recovery as disaster relief continues

Local

BUCHANAN COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – The Hurley community is preparing for a long road to recovery after heavy flooding swept away homes and led to one person’s death.

Local lawmakers say the work to restore the community has been nonstop so far.

“Our main focus is to make sure that we’re getting crews in here each day,” said Buchanan County Supervisor Trey Adkins. “Teams of about 40-50 people making sure people have drinking water, food, dog and cat food, things of that nature, a lot of cleaning supplies, wheelbarrows, shovels, coolers with ice, things of that nature, getting that in here.”

Volunteers have played a pivotal role in disaster relief efforts. Herbert Hamlett is a volunteer with the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia Disaster Relief who says the work on damaged homes is extensive.

“We physically come in and clean the homeowners home out, move all the furniture, take all the damaged area of the house out – the wet insulation, the walls, the flooring – clean the house up, pressure wash it, disinfect it, and get it ready for them to rebuild,” Hamlett said.

The devastation is unlike any the area has seen before.

“This happened in a short time frame, less than a half-hour, water was up and in people’s homes in less than 30 minutes,” Adkins said.

Adkins said the community is thankful that the worst of the weather occurred during the day when children were in school.

“We were blessed to have already had our children in school, we were blessed that it didn’t happen at night,” Adkins said. “We feel like if this would have happened at nighttime, we would’ve had well over 100 casualties.”

One person died as a result of the flooding, and authorities conducted multiple rescues during and after the rains.

“Even with knowing it was raining, knowing the water was up, and it being in the daytime, there were still several that had to be rescued because they, it just came up so fast they just simply didn’t have time to seek higher ground,” Adkins said.

The Virginia National Guard and community members are making two trips a day to get supplies to the people in the Hurley community. As temperatures soar, electricity repair remains the top priority. The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) announced after the initial floods that it would be an estimated 30 days before power would be restored.

“Hooking the homes {that are} able to be hooked back up to power, we’re doing that starting today,” said Adkins. “So hopefully we’ll have those folks back on by Wednesday.”

While the power looks as if it will be restored ahead of schedule for some, the community’s water issues remain a serious concern. BCSO previously stated that it could be a year before public water is available in the community again.

Hamlett offered words of encouragement to the Hurley community.

“Just be encouraged, know people love you, they’re praying for you, and just hang in there.”

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