BUCHANAN COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a state of emergency for Southwest Virginia Tuesday after the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused devastating rainfall and mudslides in the region.
Buchanan County saw extensive damage, with more than 20 homes pulled from their foundations and destroyed, according to county officials. Emergency personnel told WAVY sister station WJHL that around 40 to 50 evacuations had been conducted Monday and Tuesday.
One person remained unaccounted for as of Tuesday evening, according to the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office.
Local lawmakers surveyed the damage in Buchanan County in order to get a firsthand view that will aid them in their work to get federal funding to help the community.
“We want to be sure those that have been affected that we’re going to make certain that every resource available, locally, at the state level and federal level, is made available,” said Delegate James Morefield (R-Buchanan County). “That’s why we’re all here today, to see this damage ourselves to ensure that this happens.”
Operations were suspended around noon Tuesday as the area braces for another round of weather. Once safe, rescue and recovery operations will continue.
A boil water notice has also been issued in the Hurley area. That will remain in effect until further notice.
Two shelters have been set up for those who have been evacuated or displaced. The American Red Cross is also assisting at the scene, along with responders from across Southwest Virginia.
The county has set up a phone line for anyone needing information about the flooding. Anyone in need of information can call 276-244-1444 to report missing family members, report damage to homes and property or request help for any needs. The line is open 24 hours a day.
The Town of Honaker is requesting items to assist flooding victims in the Hurley area. Those items include cleaning supplies, toiletries, hygiene products, baby diapers and formula, pet supplies and bottled water. Those items can be dropped off at the Honaker Town Hall or the Southwest Virginia Community College in Cedar Bluff.
The Virginia National Guard also announced Tuesday that it would assist in Buchanan County. More soldiers will state in Winchester and Fredericksburg for possible flood response operations.
About 10 VNG soldiers will be at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management command post in Hurley, Virginia with four light/medium tactical trucks.
About 30 soldiers with the the Fredericksburg-based 229th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th IBCT will be staged at their respective armories with trucks that can assist in high-water transports and chain saw teams that will clear debris.
More soldiers, airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force will be on duty in Richmond and at Fort Pickett for mission command, administrative, logistics and public information support.
“Virginia National Guard Soldiers quickly responded to the call of duty and were ready to assist in Buchanan County on very short notice, and we are staging personnel in Fredericksburg and Winchester as well,” said Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, Virginia National Guard director of the Joint Staff. “Our state and local partners depend on our ability to rapidly respond, and this is just another example of the dedication they have demonstrated time and time again to help their fellow Virginian in a time of need. We owe a special thanks to their families and employers for their continued to support which is so critical to mission success.”