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W.Va. Guard Soldiers continue their response to flooding

By Capt. Holli Nelson | West Virginia National Guard | July 8, 2019

HARMAN, W. Va. – Response and recovery efforts continued over the holiday weekend for the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WVDHSEM), West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), and the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) in eastern West Virginia for areas impacted by heavy rainfall and flooding on June 30.

The WVNG had 16 Soldiers on state active duty providing welfare checks, water distribution and debris removal in and around Harman. Soldiers have distributed 65 cases of water and boxes of food to residents as well as delivered two water buffalos to provide potable water.

Additionally, Soldiers also performed spillway work on the Horace Camp pond dam, which has brought down the amount of water significantly to below 10 feet. Debris removal was continuing. An additional liaison team of two Soldiers began assisting Pendleton County emergency management officials starting Sunday. WVDHSEM is working with FEMA Region III to begin the official joint damage assessment for the affected counties to determine if the threshold for a federal disaster declaration has been met.

WVDHSEM is also continuing work with local and state leaders to move forward with potential repairs to water and sewer infrastructure in the area. Engineers from WVDEP were on site July 4 at the dam in Harman to evaluate the condition of the structure and provide recommendations to those involved to ensure safety of the remaining structure and those who may be affected downstream in the event of a failure. WVDEP continues to maintain contact with local officials in case more assistance is needed.

"All agencies involved in this response are doing a tremendous job in communicating effectively and delivering on the needs of the affected area," said Mike Todorovich, Director of WVDHSEM. "Our State Emergency Operations Center continues to monitor and establish criteria and necessary actions for relief, while also maintaining contact with our emergency managers."