Years after a mother and her three children lost their New Orleans home to Hurricane Katrina, the family has now found itself back on the road, this time escaping a new disaster: the rising waters of the Arkansas River, flooding the Fort Smith, Ark., home in which the family had sought refuge.
When the water started getting closer to her home this time, Shelia Clayton began sandbagging to protect her property, as reported by CNN. However, the river has risen to record levels, flooding hundreds of homes in the area.
“I’m done,” Clayton told CNN. “I don’t think I can take too much more. I am just going to walk away and not look back.”
Clayton, who has three children — one of whom has special needs, and another who is in college — chose to leave rather than hunker down on the second floor of her apartment, where she’d be trapped.
"I thought about it and said, 'Second floor? No, I already got trapped in Katrina and I don't wanna get trapped again,' so we gotta go,” she said.
She is currently living in her car, according to CNN, though it’s unclear if her children are with her.
The floods are causing Clayton to relive Hurricane Katrina, which took place 14 years ago. CNN reported that she was “rescued by boat after Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast in 2005 and she and her family were taken to the overcrowded Superdome — which she described as another tragedy.”
Clayton and her family have lost all material possessions, and CNN reports that she isn’t doing well emotionally, but is still thankful.
"We still have our lives. Material things, it don't really mean nothing to us," she told CNN. "Let that go, you can always get some more."
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Thursday that more than 500 homes have been affected by the flooding, as reported by Associated Press. Officials have never seen this situation before, and it’s uncertain when water will recede.
“We don’t have firm numbers we but know that thousands in the Fort Smith and Sebastian County area have been affected,” Melody Daniel, a spokesperson for Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Number of homes is less than that, but the primary focus is making sure that residents are not in harms way.”
Neither Shelia Clayton nor the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management immediately responded to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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