Losing their homes and possessions to the flooding that engulfed Knott and Letcher counties was catastrophic enough for scores of eastern Kentuckians digging through the wreckage that was their lives.
Forget about the last century’s up-and-down coal industry that continues to decline over the last three-plus decades in favor of automation. These residents are focused squarely on the present, processing their immediate circumstances, and how they will make it to tomorrow.
As reported by the Associated Press, Evelyn has nothing left following last week’s devastating flood that tore through Knott County, saving only her grandson’s mud-covered tricycle. At age 50, Evelyn had to watch as her rental trailer was swept away by the fast-rising – and aptly named – Troublesome Creek. Evelyn is also disabled, suffering from a chronic breathing disorder, and has already been told by her landlord he will not be placing new trailers back in the same spot.
According to CNN, eastern Kentucky is made up of hills and “hollers,” or narrow valleys formed from streams cutting through the striking Bluegrass State landscape. But those steep slopes are also prone to unstable landslides, leaving the valleys and the unprotected residents living within them exposed to catastrophic flash floods. Residential construction in those hills could actually mitigate flood risks and casualties, but the reality of doing so is extremely expensive.
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