MDS team in West Virginia
June 27, 2016
Lititz, PA — A Mennonite Disaster Service investigation team is currently in West Virginia assessing needs after devastating floods on Thursday, June 24. The team arrived on Sunday, June 26 in White Sulphur Springs.
Flash floods from heavy rains swept through a five-county area in eastern and southeastern West Virginia. Twenty-five people were reportedly killed in the flooding. Two of the hardest hit areas include the towns of White Sulphur Springs and Rainelle in Greenbrier County.
In addition to the MDS investigation team, a group of ten Early Response Team (ERT) volunteers from the MDS Virginia Shenandoah Valley Unit are also doing muck out work in the West Sulphur Springs area.
As with any significant disaster it takes time for the local community, which is often in a state of shock, to organize its response to the disaster. For volunteers it means a certain amount of patience as needs are identified and then a response, usually muck out and clean up at this stage, can be organized and initiated.
The ERT volunteers stayed through Wednesday, June 29. New crews arrive during the weekend and next week. Lodging has proven challenging as some communities are without water and could be so for up to two weeks.
Some limited housing was found in nearby Lewisburg where there are mobile homes available. These were originally prepared for those attending the Greenbrier Classic Golf Tournament which has now been canceled because of the flooding, according to Larry Stoner, MDS Regional Operations Coordinator.
Accompanying Stoner as part of the investigation team is MDS Region 1 Board Chair, Phil Troyer, Region 1 Secretary, Rodney Burkholder and Virginia Shenandoah Valley Unit Chair, Rich Rhodes.
MDS is currently welcoming donations to assist with its response to the flooding. To donate to the West Virginia Floods 2016, click here.
MDS has also been working in the southwestern part of West Virginia for nearly a year building bridges damaged or destroyed after flooding in 2015. To learn more about MDS bridge building in West Virginia, click here.
Article updated June 30, 2016.