05/03/2011 "Too Little, Too Late"
HARDIN COUNTY-- Elizabethtown is under a voluntary evacuation because of flooding and it's becoming harder and harder for people to stay there.
The Ohio River is not only taking over homes-- it's flooded the Elizabethtown sewage system.
Communication is also challenge-- phones are unreliable at best and local officials are even having problems with their radios.
In the past 24 hours the problems have intensified and residents are pointing fingers.
Walking the plank brings new meaning to Reima Robertson-- it's now the only way to enter her home.
Out back the situation is just as bad.
"Yesterday we could still see steps on the deck," says Robertson.
Now all ten steps are submerged and her six foot deck is almost covered.
The renowned floating restaurant, now closed, is only feet away and barges are also too close for comfort.
"I've been seeing barges pushing full loads of coal and there were waves coming up over the deck," she says.
As she watches the river quickly take over her home, she says this morning was the first time someone came to help.
Local residents came in the nick of time to move her out.
While water has already invaded the homes closest to the river, neighbors are banning together in a last ditch effort to sandbag.
"Just seems like we're not prepared here. This is the very last minute and the people that are helping us are all family and friends-- not emergency personal," says resident Becky Cook.
Cook says she's disappointed in how officials have responded.
"It just seems like we waited until the last second and there wasn't enough help or enough supplies," she says.
Neighbor Susan Hemphill shares in the frustration.
"I don't want it not only to not happen to me, but my neighbors-- I don't want them to go under this water without any help from somebody. There are people out there to help and they don't try to get them into town," says Hemphill.
The National Guard has arrived and sandbags are being delivered into town by the hundreds.
Cooks says, "It's just too little, too late."
Volunteer sandbagger Roy Mathews says they ran out sandbags last night.
"When you stack up four sandbags and it's over the bags in four hours what are you going to do? I sandbagged here in three different floods 93', 97' and this one-- this is the worst," says Mathews.
Becky says she along with others underestimated this flood and fear it's going to get considerably worse.
"We love the river, love living on the river-- not sure about the future right now, but it's a shame," says Cook.
County leaders have signed a disaster declaration.
They are working out of the Rosiclare Fire Department-- where they say they are now working with the National Guard.
A shelter has also been set up for Hardin County evacuees.
It's located at the Rosiclare Apostolic Church.
By: Christen Craig
Emergency Event AIC20110427