Haywood County Waits For Federal Disaster Declaration

Sep 2, 2021

  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.  

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

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.