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WV still facing 2001 damage

Bonnie Mallot is worried about flood survivors in the southern coalfields of West Virginia.

BY TRAVIS DUNN | CHARLESTON, W. Va. | June 23, 2003

Bonnie Mallot is worried about flood survivors in the southern coalfields of West Virginia, particularly in MacDowell County.

While other flooded counties are now covered by a federal disaster declaration, MacDowell is not.

That means that her organization, the West Virginia Ministry of Advocacy and Workcamps, funded by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, is going to have a lot of work to do there.

And they're still finishing up construction work following flood damage in 2001.

The 2001 flood provided the genesis for her organization, which continues to provide long-term assistance to West Virginia flood survivors. But the most recent flooding, on top of the major ice storm that struck the state in February, is merely adding insult to injury.

This most recent damage is just "the last in a series" of disasters, she said.

The recent floods are also problematic because they didn't affect one particular area.

"Normally we could go into an area and just stay there for a summer," she said. "But this is harder to assess because it's so spread out."

But in MacDowell County, there is one "concentrated area of need" near the town of Hanover, which Mallot said needs major relief. Fortunately, she said, it's not the same area that was hit by flooding last summer. Her work crews, which on average number 15 people a week during the summer, will likely be working there well into next summer.

In the meantime, her crew needs to take care of immediate needs first. Last week, she said, her volunteers cleaned mud out of the basement of 11 homes.

That, however, is just a small fraction of the work that remains to be done.

"Like I said, we're still doing reconstruction from 2001," she said.

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