Flooding Destroys Homes, Hurts Ranchers In Haskell County

Monday, May 1st 2017, 7:06 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Floodwaters destroyed about 40 homes and businesses in Kinta, Oklahoma in Haskell County.

State emergency management was in town Monday to see the damage firsthand.

4/30/2017 Related Story: Flood Waters Devastate Kinta Homes, Businesses

Most of the destruction is on Main Street - the high flood water has caused many of the buildings to be a complete loss. Now, cleanup is underway as people throw away their fridges, ruined carpet and anything else the water got to that can't be saved.

"It still really hasn't sunk in. I've lived here my whole life and I've never seen water get that deep," said Kinta Kafe restaurant owner Debbie Ratliff.

Inside city hall, decades of handwritten records are drenched.

Kinta Secretary Leighanne Kniess said, "I'm gonna try to dry it out and see what happens."

In the back of city hall, the water made its way to the town's tractor.

Amy: “Is the tractor still gonna work?
Kniess: “I don't know yet - I think it might"

Across the street, Kinta Kafe is a total loss.

Ratliff said of her restaurant, "It actually looked like a tornado had, you know - it was crazy."

Kinta Kafe opened last August - one of two restaurants in town.

"It's just - people can't eat in their hometown. They have to go somewhere else," Ratliff said.

For now, people who lost everything are eating at the First Baptist Church.

Donations from surrounding towns are starting to pile up, including clothes, hygiene products and food, but everyone knows there's so much work ahead to get life back to normal.

"We'll spring back, somehow you know, but, yeah, it's gonna be tough," Ratliff said.

Emergency management with the county and state, along with the Red Cross, are working to help people.

Flooding also impacted ranchers - some lost cattle.

Rancher Brandy Cloud's fence is being repaired - between her pasture and her ranch she'll have about four or five miles to fix after all of it washed away.

Her cattle are on higher ground while the fence gets fixed. She said a few farmers have lost cattle, including one who lost five cows and three bulls.

"It's sure gonna hurt. The fact that when you go to sales you got five cows that you're not gonna sell, five baby calves, and replace those bulls - and the bulls are real expensive right now. So yeah, it's gonna be fairly expensive," Cloud said.

If you’d like to help the town, food hand sanitizer, laundry soap, diapers size 2, 3, 4, and wet wipes are needed.

You can also go to stiglerfirst.com to donate; make sure to say the money is for flooding in Kinta.