Report looks at response and effects of EKY flooding
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Health leaders are continuing to study the long-term effects of July’s deadly floods in eastern Kentucky.
Nine months after the floods, research is helping state and local leaders find areas of improvement to assist residents in recovering and getting back on their feet safely.
Following a natural disaster, the best way to figure out how to help is to conduct a community assessment for emergency response.
“It brings together federal, state and local public health departments to identify and prioritize the needs in a community. There may be resource needs, housing, food, service needs, I can’t get a hold of anyone because the phone lines are down,” said Anna Hoover, an assistant professor at UK’s College of Public Health.
Hoover responded to eastern Kentucky several weeks after the deadly floods last summer. They collected data and research from flood survivors and victims to learn more about evacuations and recovery challenges.
“One of the students involved in the response, her family was hit by hurricane Ian in Fort Myers just a few weeks later, and she was able to take what she learned, not just as a public health student, but as a person, a daughter a family member, back to fort Myers and help her own family with their recovery,” Hoover said.
Each data point becomes part of a greater lesson in preparation for the next disaster, whenever and wherever it may strike.
“We really went out there and worked in the homes, talked with people and it was very important, the process, we had to talk story with people first because they had been through a tremendous trauma,” said Kentucky River District Health Department Public Health Director Scott Lockard.
Some key recommendations from the report include considering offering additional mental health services and expanding resources for behavioral healthcare as well as efforts to increase broadband access
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