Wednesday, May 5, 2010

on flooding

Nashville flooded over the weekend, but you probably already heard.  Nashville is where I grew up, and is still home.  My parents and brother now live just south of town.  On Saturday, while at work, I received a text message from my mom:  "This storm is awful.  Barely got home.  [Main access road to the house] closed.  YMCA flooded.  Up to roof on cars."

I spent Saturday checking in with my friends and family, and searching out any kind of information about the extent of the flood.  It was still very early on and the Cumberland River had not yet crested.  The first images of destruction began to appear: a man carrying a 10-year-old girl through waist-high water (caught on video); a portable schoolroom (not a trailer) swallowed up by floodwater on I-24.

Sunday, my mom called on her cell phone to let me know they had lost power around 7 am and had several inches of water in their basement/garage.  After about eight hours, they were back on the grid and accumulated no more than a few inches total.  They were lucky.  I stopped worrying for them.  My dad observed that it is the kind of thing you see on the news happening in other cities... not your own.

The river crested at its highest level since 1937; downtown Nashville flooded.  Most sources place the death toll from the flood at 29 and rising, around 10 of those in Nashville proper.  President Obama declared this four-county region a disaster area.  [Edit 05/06: a TEN-county region.]

Over 900 people are in Red Cross shelters across the mid-state, with the Nashville Red Cross providing over 3,000 meals each day.  These numbers are difficult to imagine, but what's harder is living them.  There is so much to say about the devastation, but the thesis is this: do something.  You can help. 

Donate to the Nashville Red Cross.  Check here and here for more photographs.  (Having spent over a decade in this one place, I can't begin to explain how surreal it is to see it underwater.)

If you're in the Nashville area, visit this site and this one for a list of ways you can help.

I am compiling a list of crafty relief efforts, which so far is very short.  Get in touch if you are crafting for Nashville!

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