The historic 2019 Arkansas River Flood has caused a great deal of devastation. Families across the state were forced to leave their homes as the rising waters destroyed the place they felt safest.
Touring across Lake Conway with a Paradise Landing resident was heartbreaking.
The entire community has felt the hit from this disaster.
Many homes along the lake sat empty this week. Empty of the energy that typically bustles through their walls. Empty of the love and compassion shared by the families who dwell there. Empty of life as flood waters wafted inside.
Those living around the lake prepared themselves beforehand. Thankfully, they had warning of what was to come. But no one expected so much destruction. No one knew the toll this disaster would take on our community.
Backyards where children typically would play instead became a part of the lake. Some individuals continued stacking sandbags around their homes as they watched the waters slowly seep into their yards. And some homes are now fortresses among the flood waters as thousand upon thousands of sandbags surround their homes.
Many who attempted to save their homes by stacking sandbags around their homes still fell victim to the flood waters. The waters are dangerous, and this incident is going to take some time to move out.
Those having to travel by boat to get home may have to continue doing so for a least another week. Maybe longer. Officials believe it could take at least two weeks before the waters recede.
I can't begin to imagine the horror of having to leave home knowing it likely will be destroyed by the flood and having to wait weeks before being able to assess the damage. Sadly, that's the position many of our neighbors are in right now.
A bright light that shines through this devastation is the togetherness and support Faulkner County residents have boasted. Strangers became saviors in a time of need.
As many watched the Arkansas River's waters rise, they also got to work. The filled sandbags in the heat, and they didn't stop until there was no longer a need to fill another sandbag. For two weeks residents and volunteers from neighboring counties joined forces to push out more than 200,000 sandbags during this disaster. That's just incredible.
It's unsettling that weeks will pass until we truly know just how badly this flood event affected us. For now, we must continue to stay strong and help our neighbors. The need for relief isn't over yet. This flood will undoubtedly affect us for quite some time. And in that time, we must continue supporting the ones who have suffered through this tragedy brought on by Mother Nature.