‘Our House Is Completely Gutted’
Sally Monroe is an elder at First Presbyterian Church of Hazard, Ky. With her husband Lawrence, she spoke with Sojourners’ Mitchell Atencio.
OUR HOUSE IS completely gutted. All the Sheetrock is gone, the flooring’s gone. It’s just a shell. The water came very quickly. Our neighbor who had a house on River Caney got about two and a half feet of water in his house, but it came very rapidly, and their house was washed away. Our situation is different. We live in the valley a half-mile from the river. We had no idea how high the water could get. We didn’t get the current, and the water came up rapidly ... some pictures from this flood where buildings were just washed off their foundations — it’s horrible to see those homes like that.
We saw businesses destroyed. They were built on the creek banks, but there’s no other place to build. And we’ve seen the strip mines too. We know the people at River Caney are suing a coal company because of the silt dams. We try to preserve the environment because the more trees you have in the hills, the more water’s going to be retained up there. I don’t know whether that would’ve made a difference with this flood. This just happened to hit us [this time], but it’s also happening down in Mississippi, in Pakistan. You just cry for people because they have no place to go.
It doesn’t take very long for the water to come up, but it takes a long time to clean up. After a flood, you have flood mud everywhere — in every crack and every crevice possible. When we went to church and they asked what to pray for, it was to pray for perseverance because it’s going to take a long time.