Saturday, March 15, 1997
List of missing receding
Names of 300 in Falmouth reduced by 50 Friday

The Cincinnati Enquirer

The list of 300 people still unaccounted for in flood-ravaged Falmouth, Ky., is being whittled slowly, with about 50 people found safe and checked off throughout the day Friday.

''We're getting there,'' said Pendleton County dispatcher Joann Keene. ''But it's going to take a few days.''


The 204-year-old village on the Licking River put many of its 2,400 residents on a missing list Thursday because no one in the Northern Kentucky town has heard from them since the evacuation almost two weeks ago.

Most of the names crossed off Friday were done after calls from friends, relatives or co-workers. Only a couple of people called for themselves.

''One lady said, 'I'm glad somebody saw my name and told me about it,' '' the dispatcher said. ''She said if she'd seen it herself, she might have had a heart attack.''

In Falmouth and other river towns, relief workers prepared for an onslaught of weekend volunteers.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recovery centers will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. all weekend. They are one-stop shopping spots where victims can talk to housing, health and business representatives.

Kentucky's first FEMA recovery centers opened Friday in Falmouth and Cynthiana. Six others are in Ohio and three are in Indiana. Four more will open across Kentucky this weekend.

''We want to emphasize that people don't have to drive to those centers,'' FEMA spokeswoman Rita Kepner said. ''The same help is available by calling the help line.'' That number is (800) 525-0321, available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

More than 22,127 people have asked for flood relief in the 93 eligible counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, Ms. Kepner said. ''That's a lot of hurting people.''

To ease the pain flood victims may be feeling, the Northern Kentucky Interfaith Commission is rallying aid through a Disaster Recovery Project that will extend long-term assistance.

The project is being supported by the Kentucky Interchurch Disaster Recovery Program in Lexington, which is asking labor unions for assistance. Volunteers will do everything from cleaning to preparing meals. A hot line is scheduled to start Monday. Anyone wishing to help with the project can call 581-2237.

Just as Greater Cincinnati cleans up, the flood is creating nightmares downstream.

In Old Shawneetown, Ill., where the Ohio crested Wednesday, a coal barge sank after hitting a two-lane bridge Thursday night.

No one was injured, and the bridge is safe, said John R. Smith, head of the community's emergency command post. But the crash sent 14 barges adrift from the towboat owned by Midland Enterprises Inc. in Cincinnati.

Back in the Tristate, with the worst of the flood washed away, this weekend will be the first time many volunteers will see the devastation. For others, flood relief already has become a second job.

Peggy Browning took two weeks off as Holmes High School day-care center director in Covington to create a free day care for flood families in Butler, Ky. For a week, she's been scheduling volunteers, food, supplies and entertainment at Flour Creek Christian Church.

Other communities are turning to churches as well, said the Rev. Giles Pater, pastor at St. John Fisher Catholic Church in Newtown. His church is providing a similar day care in conjunction with three Newtown churches.

In that village alone, 173 single-family dwellings took in water when McCullough's Run creek and the Little Miami River rushed over their banks.

In Cincinnati, the order to destroy heavily damaged property resulted in a lawsuit Friday.

The city told Harbor Park Marina owner Edward Wiwi his home and marina restrooms must be demolished for the safety of volunteers who would be working in the area. He claims he doesn't want volunteers on his property and wants more time to determine whether the building can be saved. A judge gave him until 11 a.m. next Friday, when another hearing is scheduled.

East of Cincinnati, Adams County estimates its flood damage at $100 million. The flood displaced 3,000 people there, destroyed 500 homes and washed out numerous roads and bridges.

Relief is coming by the truckload for many disaster areas. Donors range from third-graders in Madeira to big companies, such as Procter & Gamble Co. and Wal-Mart - which distributed 14 truckloads of Tide in Cincinnati on Friday.

That added to more than 500,000 pounds of cleaning supplies and food Cincinnati's FreeStore/FoodBank has distributed to flood victims, said Connie Lapujade, agency services coordinator.

''We know that this is getting into the hands of people who need it,'' she said. ''You can see them smile for a little while.''

Terry Flynn, Christine Wolff, Sheila McLaughlin, Adam Weintraub, Laura Goldberg, Beth Menge and Ben L. Kaufman contributed to this report.