The aftermath of the flooding in West Virginia has been devastating. I saw it firsthand when I visited the Clendendin and Elkview areas with my camera, laptop, and stack of DVD’s so I could help residents document the damage with photographs.
It was heartbreaking to stop at the home of Charles and Rosetta Swiney where their two boys sat outside sorting through their mother’s mud-soaked purse, trying to salvage cash, credit cards, and other valuables.
Inside, the children’s rooms were inundated with bacteria-laden brown goo, that destroyed Nascar memorabilia and a young girl’s American Doll collection, nearly crushing the bunk bed where one of the youngsters slept when the flood waters rose.
Sylvia Casto, 80, had a group of friends on hand to help her toss out a valuable record collection, family photos, and a variety of antiques, destroyed when more than 6-feet of mud and water soaked the house her father built in 1949. The force of the flood waters was so great it flipped the frig in what was her newly remodeled kitchen. Her new washer and dryer got washed away.
Casto’s husband, B.T., used a hose to wash mud from the walls of the garage, his face showing the shock and exhaustion of many flood victims. As he watched the pile of debris grow in his front yard, his only comment was, “We’re too old to start over.”
Charles Robinson’s house was a complete loss, with the foundation damaged and walls buckled, after mud and debris slammed inside. I felt depressed knowing this elderly man and his wife, who had so little to start with , now had nothing.
His neighbors didn’t fare much better, with pieces of their houses scattered up and down Jordan Creek Road. Despite the devastation, they felt thankful they had survived swift flood waters that left nearly 2-dozen people dead.