‘People are concerned about being ditched to death:’ CCU hosts public discussion on flooding and the future of Horry County

‘People are concerned about being ditched to death:’ CCU hosts public discussion on flooding and the future of Horry County
Source: WMBF News

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - It’s been nearly eight months since Hurricane Florence hit our coast and left behind devastating floodwaters. On Monday night, a discussion will be held at Coastal Carolina University on flooding concerns and the future of Horry County.

Dr. Jamie McCauley, an assistant sociology professor at Coastal Carolina University, lives in Bucksport and says while her home was spared from the floodwaters, many around her were not so lucky. After hearing the concerns from community members, McCauley wanted to lay them all out on the table for everyone to hear in an open discussion.

"There are concerns about just kind of like drainage overall. One phrase I hear a lot is people are concerned that they’re being ‘ditched to death’ and that we’re building new things and recreate drainage ditches and drainage ponds. But there’s a concern that’s not doing enough,” said McCauley.

The goal of the discussion is to come together and take a closer look at the common issues, and by the end, come up with some action steps for the future.

That’s why McCauley also invited Dr. Paul Gayes, executive director of the Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies at CCU, to address some questions from attendees. Dr. Gayes serves on the State Floodwater Task Force and has been researching the flooding impacts in Horry County.

It’s a wonderful place to live. We all want to enjoy the resources that are here. It modifies how water moves through the system. So all these are happening at the same time making, it a complex challenge. So it’s important to realize these types of things,” said Gayes.

Gayes says he hopes this panel discussion will help people decide what to do and convince them to start getting ready for the future.

“This is a great contribution to that effort because you’re not going to come to one meeting and solve these problems. This is something that is chronic, it’s a long-term problem, and it’s getting worse, and it means we have to have attention on it very quickly," said Gayes.

Eight months later, communities like Rosewood in Socastee are still recovering. Some people decided to leave their homes for good, while others decided to push through and rebuild. Now they want answers on what to do moving forward.

Terri Straka’s Rosewood home was filled with 4-feet of floodwater after Hurricane Florence, the second time her home flooded. Straka will be at Monday night’s discussion at CCU speaking on behalf of the Rosewood community. Joining her on the panel will be other members from communities severely impacted by flooding, like Conway and Bucksport. By coming together and finding common concerns and issues, Straka hopes some answers on flood response and mitigation will be discussed. She says there needs to be something done moving forward because she doesn’t want to deal with another flood again.

“Just have a whole community, a whole community just underwater in seemingly days. That's crazy. It’s just crazy,” said Straka.

The panel discussion and public forum will be held at CCU’s Johnson Auditorium at Monday at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.

McCauley also says she plans to keep the discussion ongoing and host another meeting in a few weeks.

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