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Inside Appalachia: What Does It Take To Rebuild After a Flood?

Kara Lofton
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Marsha Larch stands on her front porch surrounded by 50 years worth of belongings. Larch is saving what she can and then abandoning her home, which is about to slide into the river behind the house in Clendenin.

After floods ravaged central and southern West Virginia on June 23rd, some residents are wondering how can we rebuild? And can communities bounce back- after a devastating disaster?

Here’s what one of the flood survivors, Carol Holmes in Richwood, told us the Friday after the flood:


“You gotta have will power. That’s what you’ve got to have. Just..you know you’ve got to do it, and you do it.”

That’s how Carol Holmes plans to get through this. How long will it be before residents like her can expect to feel something close to normalcy again? Those who have been through a flood know it can take months, even years, to rebuild.

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll talk more about what life after a flood looks like- and what it takes to recover.


We’ll see what lessons we can learn by revisiting the town of Mullens, West Virginia, which was hit by a flood in 2001.

Music in today’s show was also provided by Joe Ely as heard onMountain Stage, Larry Dowling, Dinosaur Burps,  Stacy Grubb and Alan Cathead Johnston, Jake Schepps, and Michael Howard. Our producer is Roxy Todd. Our editor is Jesse Wright. Our audio mixer is Zander Aloi.

We’d love to hear from you.   You can e-mail us at feedback@wvpublic.org. Find us on Twitter@InAppalachia.


Jessica can be heard on Inside Appalachia and West Virginia Morning the station’s daily radio news program. You can reach her at jlilly@wvpublic.org
Roxy Todd is a reporter and producer for Inside Appalachia and has been a reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting since 2014. She’s won several awards, including a regional AP Award for best feature radio story, and also two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. You can reach her at rtodd@wvpublic.org.