Unsinkable: Stories from the Eastern Kentucky flood relief efforts

rock with blue paint shaped like Kentucky with the word Unsinkable

Catastrophic flooding struck Eastern Kentucky on July 28. The stories of survival, loss, and now recovery are both harrowing and inspiring. We are sharing stories from the counties, some of the most rural in the United States. 

Follow this page for more dispatches from counties in Eastern Kentucky as the flood recovery continues.

Letcher County, Kentucky

Knott County, Kentucky

The Tuesday before the flood came, I stood on the porch of the Hindman Settlement School stringing beans.

When I first walked onto the porch, Rachel was already at it. She and I were among the writers there for Hindman’s flagship literary program, The Appalachian Writers’ Workshop. 

“Can I help?” I asked, and she welcomed me. 

She handed me a mess of beans and a bowl to discard their strings. I matched her rhythm, sliding the strings from each side and snapping the pod into threes, dropping them into the tall cooker between us. 

Another writer, Meredith, walked up. She and I were supposed to meet to talk about my writing, but she too couldn’t resist breaking beans for a spell.

She started to help. Continue reading 

Breathitt County, Kentucky

The day before President Joe Biden was expected to visit her native Breathitt County, Amanda Turner considered what she would want him to know about the situation facing families like hers.

“I hope the one thing he takes away from this is that even though we are poor, we are strong,” said Turner, who waded into waist-deep waters with her husband to wake her nearby relatives so they could escape. 

Two of the family’s three homes were destroyed; some of Turner’s relatives are now sleeping in tents on their property, protecting what’s left. She hoped Biden and other officials would have an opportunity to see those living conditions firsthand. Continue reading … 

Share:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
From Our Blog

Recent Posts

Helen Matthews Lewis

Because of Helen Matthews Lewis 

Because of Helen Lewis, Whitney Kimball Coe was able to follow her calling to return home to East Tennessee, not just to build a life there but to lead, to serve, to celebrate all that we are and all we can be.  

The Rural Assembly celebrates Welcoming Week 2022

For the next week, The Rural Assembly is joining Welcoming America and partners across the country to celebrate Welcoming Week 2022.

Welcoming Week is an opportunity to celebrate the values that unite us as neighbors, parents, and colleagues, and to make our communities more welcoming to all those who call rural America home.