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W.Va. Floods Offer Lessons for Katrina Victims

Four years after the flood, local officials are working on a strategic plan for Mullens that includes revitalizing the downtown.
Melissa Block, NPR /
/
Four years after the flood, local officials are working on a strategic plan for Mullens that includes revitalizing the downtown.

A visit to communities in West Virginia that were devastated by flash floods in 2001 offers a glimpse into what Gulf Coast residents can expect as they struggle to recover from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.

In New Orleans, and along the Gulf Coast, many questions remain unanswered after Hurricane Katrina: Will business come back? How many people will leave for good? What will remain of those communities? Four years ago, those same questions were being asked in southern West Virginia, which suffered a smaller but still catastrophic disaster.

Melissa Block reports from Wyoming County on the lingering effects of the floods, long after the water receded.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: March 14, 2006 at 5:02 PM EST
We reported that 11 inches of rain fell in four hours on the day of the flooding. But a rain gauge was malfunctioning, and the actual rainfall was about half that amount.
As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.