I drove through town today to help a friend clean out her basement. Well, tried, by the time I got there most of the work was already done, but we’ll be back to help her paint and drywall and other things. She was really lucky in the whole thing, her basement was flooded, mostly from sewage backup, but they had moved most items upstairs and it didn’t get above 4 ft high in her basement.
Others weren’t so lucky. As we drove across town it was just devastating site after devastating site. One after another. I was just in awe of what was going on. I’ve been thinking about this for 3 hours and I can’t even come to terms with it all. Every street is lined with crap, piled 10 ft high. Carpets and chairs and clothes and appliances. Toys and tools and all kinds of things. Already scavengers are out searching for anything with metal (which is good I guess) and it’s just awful.
I saw a semi trailer smashed up against a church. I saw a gas tank (about the size of 2-3 SUVs) bent around a tree. So many windows broken out. Brick columns just obliterated.
I thought I was ready for this. I really thought I had seen it all. But I wasn’t ready.
Have you ever seen the curb of a house when someone gets evicted? All their crap is piled up on the curb with total disregard to it? That’s how this was. Street after street after street. As far as your eye can see down a street every house has this. If the house doesn’t have this pile, it’s because the house has been condemned and the homeowner isn’t allowed back into it.
My friend lives a long, long way from the river. I estimate 2-3 miles by the way the crow flies, yet she had neighbors whose houses had actual flooding from the river water. You could see the line on the house. Some of the houses were missing parts of their FOUNDATIONS. Concrete block, or brick, foundations were just wiped out. Gone. Huge gaping holes in them. And this was 2-3 miles from the river. Easily. At least that far away. How hard was that river moving when it hit those areas? Even today the current in the river was moving. I wouldn’t want to fall into it.
We drove by the church with our experimental garden in it. It was gone. I figured it would be there just with dead plants. No. Gone. The beds were made from 2x4s and they were 4 ft x 4 ft. Gone. No trace of them. In fact they were using that spot for cushions from the pews. I wasn’t expecting that.
I have a whole new appreciation for the power of a flood.
I don’t normally do this kind of thing, but tomorrow I’m going to put up some information here about where to send a donation. My employer has offered to match any donation made to their foundation for the relief effort dollar for dollar up to $1M. Previously for Katrina and the Tsunami they’ve easily achieved this goal. I’m sure they will this time too. If you wish to donate you can go this way and your money will count twice. Once for the dollar you give and once for the dollar they give to match your donation.
(Please note, I have nothing to do with this effort other than providing the mailing address. You can contact the Red Cross or another organization too. I’m simply trying to figure out how to get more from what you donate.)
Before tonight I underestimated the impact of all this flooding. Tomorrow’s a new day. It will be a different day with a different perspective. A new understanding of what can happen very quickly. A new day. Tomorrow’s a new day.