Operation Compassion Responds to Southern West Virginia’s Disaster

By , June 11, 2004

The months of May and June ushered unprecedented spring storms causing widespread flooding in southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky destroying thousands of homes and leaving thousands homeless as spring rains brought some of the worst flooding in more than thirty-five years. When the rainwater began to cascade down the mountainside, holler creeks and rivers became catastrophic torrents sweeping cars, houses and anything in its path into total destruction.
Immediately, Operation Compassion swung into action through the Appalachian Dream Center (ADC) in providing shelter to homeless families as well as volunteers, the National Guard and the National Guard Medi-Vac Team. The ADC became a partner with FEMA and WVEMA and was named a Disaster Center for southern West Virginia as Governor Wise declared Logan, Mingo and Wyoming counties disaster areas.

While there was only one fatality, it was estimated that 700-800 families had been displaced from their homes. During the first seven days of the flooding, ADC served more than 6,000 hot meals at the Center and delivered onsite. More than ten semis of disaster relief supplies have been distributed throughout the disaster area.

Michael Hartwell, Director of ADC, opened the first floor of the facility to the Health Department for the distribution of tetanus shots and other vaccines necessary to keep diseases from spreading due to the flooding. Also, the Health Department set up screening for the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses to ensure they were receiving proper medical care and treatment.

For the first time since the inception of ADC, Michael Hartwell, Director and his staff had to manage damage to the ADC itself. More than eight inches of water flooded the basement and threatened to damage or destroy the very supplies necessary for this relief effort. Through it all, the ADC staff managed to continue to help shelter and feed families.

In eastern Kentucky, the flooding was as severe as in West Virginia. Operation Compassion partnered with Christian Appalachia Project (CAP) and ADC in supplying necessary disaster relief supplies in the affected area. Hundreds of families were displaced and hundreds of homes were partially or totally destroyed in the wake of the flooding.

Dr. John D. Nichols, President, Operation Compassion said, “Throughout the United States and around the world, Operation Compassion endeavors to answer the call when disaster strikes. Operation Compassion understands that catastrophic events happen. Regardless of the disaster, Operation Compassion will do its best to alleviate the suffering of those families caught in the grip of disastrous circumstances.”

David Lorency, International Field Director, Operation Compassion, said, “Almost without exception, those that are hardest it can least afford to deal with their misfortunes. That is the mission and purpose of Operation Compassion – helping to meet the needs of the suffering, confused and disoriented victims of disaster.”

Dr. Nichols and the Board of Directors, David Lorency and the staff are of one mind – Operation Compassion must do whatever it takes to get all the relief supplies possible to the need.

Anyone interested in supporting financially, donating products or providing a corporate lead may contact:

Operation Compassion
Dr. John D. Nichols, President
David Lorency, International Field Director
Tim Burdashaw, Communications & Development

114 Stuart Road, NE
Suite 370
Cleveland, TN 37312
423.728.3932 – Office
423.728.3958 – Fax
www.operationcompassion.org

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