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Appalachian disaster relief team answers call to help in W.Va.

Submitted by evanharrell on Tue, 08/08/2017 - 07:50

MOUNT VERNON, Ky. — Flash flooding in northern West Virginia has left hundreds of families in desperate need. Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) has mobilized a team to assist with initial assessments and cleanup.

“Currently, more than 80 homes have been assessed and are awaiting cleanup, and there are an additional 300 homes in desperate need in neighboring counties,” said Robyn Renner, CAP’s director of Disaster Relief.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has declared a state of emergency for parts of northern West Virginia. The National Weather Service reported that nearly 4 inches of rain fell in a short amount of time, which contributed to the flash floods. Renner, also state chair of the Kentucky Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, arrived in Wheeling, W.Va. on Thursday with an initial team from CAP to set up a command center. CAP has secured a local high school for lodging. Meals will be provided for volunteer teams arriving Friday afternoon, Aug. 4.

“When you respond to a disaster, the needs are obvious and immediate,” said Renner, who has led CAP’s disaster relief efforts for the past three years. “Our goal always is to see where we can help and get our volunteers on the ground as soon as possible. We know these are not just stories on the news, but real people’s lives that have been turned upside down.”

Through coordination between CAP’s Housing Program and Disaster Relief, CAP will be able to divert a short-term missions team that was headed to Eastern Kentucky to help repair substandard houses. Willoughby United Methodist Church in Willoughby, Ohio, was more than willing to go where needed.

“Staff from all of our programs are encouraged to join or otherwise support our response efforts in whatever ways they can,” said Michael Wallace, one of CAP’s Housing Program managers. “The sharing of these resources and staff, as well as supplies and equipment, allows us to have the greatest impact in Appalachia.”

Renner added, “Our program is always ready to provide a rapid response. Volunteers and staff arrive at these scenes of devastation with the training, tools, and procedures necessary to make an instant impact. It is essential to quickly mobilize as many trained and certified responders as possible.”

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