FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WVNS) –The flood waters that came through Smithers left a wake of devastation.
The people in the small community began to clean up their homes and yards on Tuesday, August 16, 2022.
One homeowner, Robert Vanmeter, said he suffered a similar loss in 2001.
“The same thing happened 21 years ago, almost to the date,” said Vanmeter. “The downstairs got flooded. “The garage got flooded, lost all my tools, lost all my furniture.”
The damage to the neighborhood was significant. Debris and uprooted vegetation littered yards and along the road.
The mud, thick and viscous, made it difficult for homeowners to walk. They sunk into the mud. At other places, they waded through water from garden hoses.
“The mud is the worst part,” said Vanmeter. “The water wouldn’t have been near as bad, if there just hadn’t been the mud.”
Vanmeter estimated the flood did more than $100,000 worth of damages to his home and property. He said he has FEMA insurance, purchased through a local insurer, but he is not sure how to get paid.
“I have FEMA insurance, but I don’t know what they’re going to do. I don’t know how to even fool with FEMA,” said Vanmeter.
“My wife did it the last time, but she’s passed away now,” he added. “I don’t know. I’m at a total loss.”
Vanmeter said he has concerns that his neighborhood will not get federal and state aid. With an older generation living in the hollow, he said, he is worried they will be forgotten.
“People don’t help people up this hollow anymore, there’s not enough people that live up this hollow, There’s no kids that live up here,” said Vanmeter.
He added two children live next door to him, but those are the only young residents he knows.
The governor asked flood victims to fill out an online survey for help.