© 2023 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Haywood County Waits For Federal Disaster Declaration

Lilly Knoepp
Cruso Methodist Church and the Cruso Community are beyond the emergency checkpoint. You can see cars and dump trucks lined up to go lend a hand in the area.

  A second flood didn’t occur in Haywood County this week. Despite a voluntary evacuation, that allowed locals to continue their cleanup from flooding more than two weeks ago.  

The ground is still muddy outside Juke Box Junction Restaurant where Peter Constantian is sitting outside. He points to how high the water level in the Pigeon River rose during the flood.

“They said the water came all the way up to the floor boards, and maybe a little bit came through the floor boards but the basement was totally flooded,” said Constantian.  

Credit Lilly Knoepp
Pastor Peter Constantian points to the floor of Juke Box Junction Restaurant which is on high stilts next to the Pigeon River.

Constantian is pastor at Cruso United Methodist Church. The church is beyond the current emergency check point where only volunteers and residents are allowed. He says all 45 members of his congregation lost their homes or had family members who have lost everything.

“I was out there trying to meet people, talk with them and just as a pastor helped them to process some of that trauma,” he said.

The church has become a base camp for volunteers who need showers and bathrooms. It’s part of the Canton Missional Network, which is almost 40 local organizations who work together to get provide goods and services to those in need.

Constantian is thankful for the wave of supplies and volunteers helping in Haywood County. He hopes that local organizations will continue to be supported.

“We're going to be here. Long-term this problem. It isn't going to go away. It's going to take time to rebuild,” said Constantian.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper requested a federal major disaster declaration last Friday. One week later, the federal government is still waiting on the decision.

Here's BPR's verified resources if you want to help those impacted by the flood.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
Related Content