Ohio Task Force 1 returns home from Kentucky flooding relief

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 11:47 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Members of Ohio Task Force 1 are back home after helping save lives in Kentucky where the death toll skyrocketed after floods and mudslides wiped out homes, leaving people without power for days.

“This is going to take many months to a couple of years to help these people recover,” said Jim O’Connor, a task force leader of Ohio Task Force 1.

The task force did what they always do, responding in a time of crisis, ensuring the most vulnerable get the help they need. They spent two weeks helping in the southeastern Kentucky area.

“The initial couple days while the water was high was getting to people who were impacted, washed out of their houses which were cut off because the roads were flooded and there was no access to them so we had boat teams in the water that were helping to get people out of locations, out of their houses where they were trapped,” said O’Connor. “We stayed down there another week because the water levels were so high and they were expecting a significant amount of rain and so the fear was the water has gone down but it’s going to come right back up and we’re going to back in that same situation,” said O’Connor.

Every time O’Connor covers these disasters, he says it amazes him how resilient people are, especially, when they just lost everything.

“The amazing part with people in this situation is the hope is there. This was a very tight-knit community. There were conversations even when we stopped at a store to pick up supplies or stopped at a gas station filling up, the conversations were are you okay? Is so and so okay?,” said O’Connor.

The death toll in Kentucky is in the double digits, and at least 1,300 people have been rescued.

There are various ways to help Kentucky out. You can click this link for that information.

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