On July 27, 2022, a flood swept through 14 counties in East Kentucky, killing 45 people and displacing thousands more. More than six months later, the affected communities remain on a long road to recovery.
The area hit by the flood is one of the most rural regions in the country, and it’s also home to the main offices of our publisher and parent organization, the Center for Rural Strategies. In light of that, the Daily Yonder is committed to following the stories of the flood and its aftermath, to lift up acts of heroism, sacrifice, and resilience shown by neighbors in the region, and to preserve the lived experiences of the people of East Kentucky.
Photo by Malcolm Wilson.
East Kentucky Flood
A documentary film by the Center for Rural Strategies, “East Kentucky Flood” tells the stories of those who endured the flood — including the life-saving actions of a firefighter in Whitesburg and the rebuilding of an independent grocery store in Isom — revealing not just what happened in July 2022, but what lies ahead for communities across East Kentucky.
The half-hour documentary premiered locally on Monday, January 27, 2022, on WYMT, the local CBS television affiliate in Hazard, Kentucky. It made its statewide premiere on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, on KET, Kentucky’s public television network and continues to air on KET throughout the month of February.
The directors’ cut of the film now makes its national, digital debut here on the Daily Yonder. You can also stream the film on the Daily Yonder YouTube channel.
From the Film
A Clip from the Documentary ‘East Kentucky Flood’: The Drunk Angels
A Clip from the Documentary ‘East Kentucky Flood’: Isom IGA
A Clip from the Documentary ‘East Kentucky Flood’: Building Back
‘East Kentucky Flood’ Documentary Available for Streaming
More to Watch
Get a closer look at the days immediately following the flood from the perspective of the Isom IGA, a story featured in the “East Kentucky Flood” documentary. Photos by Malcolm Wilson.
Podcast and Radio
Don’t miss these two podcast interviews about the flooding in East Kentucky, featured on Everywhere Radio, a podcast from the Rural Assembly. Like the Daily Yonder, the Rural Assembly is a program of the Center for Rural Strategies. Learn more at ruralassembly.org.
Everywhere Radio is available on popular podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more. Listen and subscribe today.
Filmmakers preserve stories from East Kentucky flood
From the frontlines of the 2022 Kentucky flood
In partnership with WEKU, the public radio station for central and eastern Kentucky, the Daily Yonder has contributed content to “RISE,” a special six-part series focused on the floods. The series is a special edition of Eastern Standard, WEKU’s weekly public affairs program. Each episode uplifts conversations focused on the realities of the present and prospects for the future in eastern Kentucky.
The series features reporting from Daily Yonder contributors Anya Slepyan, Caroline Carlson, Claire Carlson, Joel Cohen, and Xandr Brown.
Each episode of “RISE” airs locally on the radio via WEKU and is also available online via popular podcast platforms. You can also listen to the episodes below.
As the Daily Yonder continues its reporting on flood recovery in East Kentucky, you can keep up with our latest stories here.
News and Reporting
In the Face of Extreme Floods, Rural Kentucky Lacked Forecasting and Broadband
Finding ‘Higher Ground’: Locally-led Movement Works Toward a Just Housing Recovery in Eastern Kentucky
After Devastating Floods, a Rainbow of Quilts Brings Hope
Four Hooves Beat Four Wheels for Some Early Flood Relief Teams
An Education Interrupted: Eastern Kentucky Schools and Students Face a Long Road to Recovery after the Floods
As the President Visits Kentucky After Flooding, Residents Send a Message of Resilience and Frustration
Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief and Recovery – How You Can Help
Mud and Mutual Aid: The Early Days of Recovery from Eastern Kentucky Floods
Commentary: (Distant) Neighbor Helping Neighbor
Commentary: Things the Flood Takes
Commentary: TVA Owes Eastern Kentucky Reparations for Strip Mining’s Role in Flooding
First Person: Before the Flood, Breaking Beans at Hindman
Commentary: A ‘Second Disaster’ Caused by Good Will
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In the Community
In support of the communities of East Kentucky, the Center for Rural Strategies made grants to local groups, including the East Kentucky Mutual Aid Society, Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, Appalshop Archive, Hemphill Community Center and Revive Our Lower Letcher (via the Letcher County Culture Hub), as well as to support the establishment of a youth education and culture center in Fleming-Neon.
These grants were made possible by gifts from the Hearthland Foundation, Chorus Inc., Triangle Community Foundation, Peter Pearce, and other individuals.
How You Can Help
If you would like to play a part in the ongoing recovery in East Kentucky, we’ve collected below a list of community organizations that welcome donations from individuals looking to offer support in the region.
- Hemphill Community Center
- HOMES, Inc.
- Housing Development Alliance
- Partnership Housing, Inc.
- Fund for Appalachian Kentucky
- CANE Kitchen
- Appalachian Citizen’s Law Center
- Cowan Community Action Group
- Christian Appalachian Project
- Appalachia Service Project
- East KY Mutual Aid
- PayPal.me/kentuckydaria (Jessica Shelton)
- Venmo – @kentuckydaria (Jessica Shelton) OR @ekymutualaid (Misty Skaggs)
- Cashapp – $kentuckydaria (Jessica Shelton) OR $ekymutualaid (Misty Skaggs)
Photos by Malcolm Wilson.
Support Our Work
If you value our coverage of East Kentucky — or beyond, all across rural America — we hope you’ll consider making a donation to support our nonprofit newsroom.
The documentary film “East Kentucky Flood” and the reporting of the Daily Yonder are both productions of the Center for Rural Strategies, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Whitesburg, Kentucky.