07 February 2008

This is what's left of a house in Clinton, Arkansas that was lifted off its foundation by a tornado on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5. I wonder where the rest of it ended up? Is the family who lived there all right? My eyes keep going to the skateboard and the stuffed toys in the foreground of the photo. It's hard for me to imagine devastation like this, harder still to imagine living through it. It makes my heart ache.

According to the latest reports, at least 55 people lost their lives on Tuesday, when some 93 tornadoes were reported across the mid-South -- Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennesee, I think -- over a 15-hour period between the evening of Feb. 5 and the morning of Feb. 6.

Hundreds of people were injured. Many of the victims were poor. It was all taking place while the media's full attention was focused on the presidential primaries and caucuses across the country, so most of us didn't hear much about the disaster striking our fellow Americans who lived in the path of the storms. I do remember hearing that they'd shut down some polling places in Tennessee because of the danger from tornadoes. That was it.

During a speech he gave at an event in Washington, DC the morning of Feb. 6, Bush told the victims that they've been "held up in prayer":

"Thanks for the warm welcome. Before we begin the ceremony today, we turn our thoughts to those suffering from yesterday's tornados.

"This is a bad storm that affected a lot of people in a variety of states. Our administration is reaching out to state officials. I just called the governors of the affected states. I wanted them to know that this government will help them; but more importantly, I wanted them to be able to tell the people in their states that the American people hold them up and -- hold those who suffer up in prayer. Loss of life, a lot of loss of property -- prayers can help and so can the government. And so today before we begin this important ceremony, I do want the people in those states to know the American people are standing with them."

That's nice, but prayers don't feed, clothe or house those who have lost everything. Blogger Monkeyfister, who lives in the area, liveblogged the storms as they passed over and is spearheading aid efforts.

Send donations to:
American Red Cross
Mid-South Chapter
1400 Central Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 726-1690

or phone in a donation to United Way of the Mid-South at (901) 433-4300. Monkeyfister says "They take DIRECT donations, so you can skip all the National-level waste and delay, AND they serve nearly every community in the effected radius."

If you live near any of the affected areas, food closets are in dire need of food for those affected. Canned goods and non-perishables are best. People of all ages will also need basics like toiletries, clothing, bedding and outwear.

Hard to say how FEMA will handle this one, but I'm not holding my breath. Please do what you can to help.

1 comment:

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Having grown up in the midwest, I'm to this day deathly afraid of, and yet also fascinated by, tornadoes.