BETHANY, WV - The Dixon family has struggled against nature’s awesome power twice. Hurricane Frances (2004) caused Buffalo Creek to overflow and reach their porch. Two weeks later, Hurricane Ivan caused floodwater to lift their mobile home off its foundation, overturn it and leave it in shambles a quarter mile downstream.
Initially when the floodwaters began to approach, the Dixons started moving their valuables to a higher level in their home or onto high shelves in their storage shed. But the water rose too quickly, and they had to flee to higher ground. They lost everything.
Fortunately, the Dixons were registered with FEMA and received a housing assistance grant under FEMA’s Individual and Household Program. The Dixons used this money to purchase a used mobile home and relocated it on higher ground across the road.
In their new, higher location, the Dixons feel much safer. The floodwaters do not reach the new site, which is out of the flood hazard area. Relocating their home was a win-win situation for the Dixons. They get to stay in an area they love, and they have reduced the chances they will be flooded again.
The local Federal Coordinating Officer of FEMA said, “Relocation is one way to mitigate a structure against damages from future events, and we commend the Dixons for taking this rational step to protect themselves from future flooding.”
Mitigation is taking steps now to reduce damages from future events. It is also an essential part of the FEMA and State of West Virginia disaster response and recovery programs.
The Dixons are grateful for the FEMA assistance and have a lot more peace of mind when the rains come and raise Buffalo Creek. They now know they are not as vulnerable to floodwaters as they were before.