On June 23-25, the state of West Virginia experienced massive flooding due to torrential rains, in the worst flooding event the state has seen in 30 years. On June 26, the President signed a federal disaster declaration, escalating the locally-declared state of emergency in 44 counties of WV. The flooding claimed the lives of more than 25 people. Thousands of homes were severely damaged or destroyed, and more than 17,000 homes and businesses are without power, including the Fayette County water system. Roads were washed away and highways in many places are completely destroyed or impassable.
In the days that followed, NECHAMA, Team Rubicon, and Toolbank USA launched their response efforts. Thanks to United and Airlink, these organizations were able to send 33 additional personnel to make this response a success.
The Toolbank Disaster Services mobile unit was requested to assist organizations responding in Nicholas County. Over the next 22 days, 1,115 volunteers used blue ToolBank tools to muck, gut, and demo homes, removed debris, and left the community spotless. ToolBank Disaster Services staff were able to swiftly deploy and deliver countless power tools, sledgehammers, Fubars, and much more to a community in crisis. ToolBank tools reduce costs, shorten the recovery period, and maximize the impact of volunteers. The organization’s Director of Disaster Services was able to travel to West Virginia thanks to United and Airlink.
Team Rubicon deployed 142 volunteers – 31 of whom traveled there thanks to United and Airlink – to assist with damage assessments, debris removal, and muck out of affected homes. The team included 135 members of Team Rubicon USA, 2 members of TR Global, and 5 members of TR Canada, including a homeowner affected by recent wildfires in Fort McMurray who joined the team to assist on Op Pay Dirt in the previous month. The team completed over 100 work orders and nearly 200 damage assessments, logging over 10,000 hours of work in the process.