Save the Children is assessing how best to help the thousands of children impacted by the powerful storms that hit West Virginia on Thursday night, causing widespread flooding and destruction, power outages and the deaths of at least 14 people, including two young children.
The National Weather Service said 8-10 inches of rain fell in 6-8 hours in parts of the state. West Virginian Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has issued a state of emergency in 44 of the state’s 55 counties. Save the Children works in three of the flood-affected counties, including Roane County, Calhoun County and Cherry River in Nicholas County.
“We are reaching out to all the families we serve to determine what the most urgent needs are to protect children’s safety and wellbeing,” said Anna Hardway, Save the Children’s director of Programs in West Virginia. “We know many children are displaced and have lost belongings and possibly homes, and can be very vulnerable after a disaster like this. Many of the families we serve don’t have the resources to quickly bounce back and we want to make sure we can help them protect their children.”
Save the Children serves children in 5 West Virginia counties through health, early education programs and afterschool programs. The organization currently partners with local schools to deliver programing to 1,824 children in the state. Programs support mothers during pregnancy, provides home visits to families of infants and toddlers, help young children get ready for school, stay healthy and succeed in school and beyond.
Save the Children has worked in West Virginia since 2010 and has served more than 1 million U.S. children affected by disaster since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2006.