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‘Our people need help’: Police chief, sheriff describe mass devastation from middle Tennessee flooding

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 1:44 PM CDT
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WAVERLY, Tenn. (WMC) - The search for victims continues in Waverly and Humphreys County where nearly two dozen people are confirmed dead and more are still missing following historic flooding.

The police/fire chief in Waverly and sheriff of Humphreys County gave a media briefing Monday afternoon, describing the “mass devastation” left behind after the deadly flooding.

“Our people need help,” said Sheriff Chris Davis. “We’re gonna be overwhelmed for the next 30 days.”

Anyone wanting to volunteer to help with cleanup and recovery can call 931-888-8011 or 931-888-8012. You can report...

Posted by Waverly Department of Public Safety - Police & Fire on Monday, August 23, 2021

Davis said the devastation stretches nearly 10 miles -- from outside McKewn to the west end of Waverly -- with homes washed from their foundations, vehicles dragged away and yet-untold lives lost.

“Right now I close my eyes and I cannot get over the devastation,” said Davis. “Just knowing that you grew up in that, knowing that this is your roots, it’s all pretty breathtaking. It sets you back pretty good.”

The sheriff and police chief said law enforcement agencies across Tennessee have reached out to help while Waverly and Humphrey’s County personnel are focused on the search for victims.

“We’ve been affected from city limit to city limit,” said Chief Grant Gillespie. “It’s been a huge impact for this small community. The town will wear these scars for many decades.”

Gillespie says crews started on the east side of town and worked their way west. After combing the banks looking for victims, crews moved into the creek Monday with heavy machinery to move debris and search dogs to look for victims.

On Monday morning, nearly four dozen people were still missing. By the afternoon, that number was down to about 10 though it fluctuates periodically, Gillespie said.

Both Gillespie and Davis warned of “shady contractors” and encouraged residents to make sure they’re working with legitimate crews.

Home repair scammers are already hitting town.. Please be wary of who you do business with and check out anyone before hiring them for work!!

Posted by Waverly Department of Public Safety - Police & Fire on Monday, August 23, 2021

Nearly 2,000 homes remained without power Monday morning while several area churches served as shelters providing food, clothing and counseling services. The First Federal Bank of Waverly is accepting donations for those who lost their homes.

For those who want to volunteer, call (931) 888-8011 or (931) 888-8012.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.

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