Recovery and relief efforts begin after floods recede in Waverly
WAVERLY, Tenn. (WMC) - As the floodwaters receded, the small city of Waverly assessed the damage left behind.
Homes were washed out, some moved from their foundations, and at last check, 21, people are dead with 13 more reported missing.
“Our county seat has been hit hard. Our county has been hit hard,” said Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis.
The damage surrounds the creek that cuts through and past the city of just over 4,000 people, a trail of about 10 miles long, according to Davis.
“We’re not talking about people getting just their houses flooded. We are talking about that, but I’m talking about houses that have been moved from the foundation” the Sheriff said. “I’m talking about houses that people can’t even get into because the floors are gone. We’re talking about people that are coming out and are going back to their homes and their cars are gone. They’re just gone.”
Waverly fire and police chief, Grant Gillespie, says search efforts have shifted to the creek now that the floodwaters have died down.
“That’s a painstaking process,” Gillespie said. “We have to clear that, a lot of times, with equipment. We’ve been using dogs today to help with that search, and that can kind of help pinpoint where we might need to look.”
On top of volunteer and supply efforts facilitated by the county, other groups like Compassion Church in Waverly are doing their part.
“We’ve got people flooding in with supplies, with water, clothes, and it’s to the point where it’s overwhelming with the amount of supplies we’re getting,” said Nathaniel Coleman with Compassion Church in Waverly. “It’s good that we’re having that because a lot of people have lost a lot.”
Coleman and his team with Compassion Church have been posted in two locations in town, taking in supplies and basic necessities and delivering them on ATVs, due to how difficult of a drive it is to some of the affected areas.
“The road I’m about to go on has a house sitting right in the middle of it,” Coleman said, loading up one of the ATVs. “There’s cars and boats in the middle of roads. There’s a house that I put a roof on a year ago that has a boat in the middle of it.”
An 8 p.m. curfew is in effect until further notice.
Law enforcement from multiple agencies across the state have arrived and are stationed throughout the city and county to prevent looting of homes, which has been a concern here in the wake of the flood.
“[Residents] are glad to see the extra law enforcement,” Gillespie said. “Folks’ houses are vulnerable right now, their property is vulnerable. We’re going to do our best to make sure nobody messes with it.”
Both Gillespie and Davis are urging Tennesseeans and travelers to not pass through Waverly and the affected areas of Humphreys County, to give those impacted space and time to recover from such a devastating event.
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