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Editor’s Note: On Thursday, February 16, the Daily Yonder will host the digital premiere of “East Kentucky Flood,” a half-hour documentary about the historic 2022 flood that killed 45 people and displaced thousands. The documentary is a production of the Center for Rural Strategies, which publishes the Yonder. This clip from the documentary features Seth Long of the nonprofit HOMES, Inc., and Brenda and Terry Morgan, who lost their home in Letcher County.

The Morgans got the call at 7 in the morning.

It was their neighbor, warning them about rising water.

“I opened the back door and looked out and I said, ‘Oh my God in heaven,'” Brenda Morgan said.

Her husband, Terry Morgan, jumped up. “What’s wrong?” he asked. Brenda told him to come and look.

Within 25 or 30 minutes, “It was this high,” Terry Morgan said, pulling his hand across his chest. “It was everything I could do to keep my feet on the ground.”

The Morgans are two of the thousands of people whom the storm displaced. More than a foot of rain on the region in late July 2022, resulting in regional flood levels up to 40% higher than previous records on July 28. 

For the Morgans, it could have been worse — they escaped with their lives and their dog, they said. With the help of the “Housing Can’t Wait” campaign and the nonprofit HOMES, Inc., their new home was underway is underway.

“God has answered my prayer. I’m going to get my home,” Brenda Morgan said. “It may take us a little bit, but we’re going to have a home before the end of the year.”

The nonprofit HOMES, Inc., has been building affordable housing in East Kentucky for nearly three decades. The July 2022 flood brought an urgency and scope of need unlike anything the region has seen in living memory.

“We’ve been here before the flood, we’ll be here long after the flood,” said Seth Long, the group’s executive director.

The Morgan’s story and that of HOMES, Inc., are part of a Center for Rural Strategies documentary detailing the efforts of several East Kentucky communities to recover from the flash flood. 

“East Kentucky Flood: Some of the Stories,” will have its statewide broadcast premiere 10 p.m. Wednesday, February 15, 2023, on KET, Kentucky’s public television network, and will air other times throughout the month of February. The entire video will be available for streaming on the Daily Yonder on Thursday, February 16, 2023.

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