Tornado aftermath: reflections

Discussion in '2008 Archive' started by rbell, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. rbell

    rbell
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    I've been watching up close the recovery and rebuilding efforts going on in Prattville AL. This area was heavily damaged Sunday by a big (1/4+ mile wide) F3 tornado. Several hundred homes and dozens of businesses were damaged or destroyed. The retail corridor of Prattville was, in a phrase, mostly flattened.

    But it's been interesting watching how things are being handled there. I went over there today, and all traffic lights and power poles have been replaced (there were 20-30 poles broken at 1:00 pm Sunday!) There is already massive cleanup efforts underway. Some of the smaller businesses will have a rougher go of it (simply because they have a smaller work force), but many businesses are marking their comeback in days, rather than weeks.

    There are many homes and businesses that must be bulldozed and rebuilt...but believe it or not, some of that is already happening...less than three days from the event.

    A couple of significant issues: The feds are saying that there will not be a "federal disaster area" declared. Why? Because over 80% of losses were insured! And yet....the cleanup goes ahead anyway. The FEMA guys and EMA guys at the cleanup sites are more are less standing around as the home and business owners "get busy" and put the pieces back together.

    Doesn't that speak volumes?

    My thoughts on this whole scenario:
    • Folks, elect competent city leaders. You'll be glad you did. Quit focusing as much on who will be President as you do who will be Mayor and Councilman. Prattville is blessed to have outstanding leadership. And this week, it matters more than anything. Bush, Obama, Clinton, McCain...they ain't gonna clean up Prattville either way. In fact, their minions probably would get in the way if they went down there now. So.....elect some good local folks!
    • If you can't afford insurance, you can't afford the home or the business. I was floored by the "no disaster" declaration. Then, I realized two things: One...it means fewer feds down here screwing things up. Two...it means that Prattville has done it the way it should be done. It is not the government's responsibility to insure my stuff: it is mine. Can't do insurance? Then rent. Work for someone else. Save up...and when you can adequately insure, you're ready. Otherwise, calamity will hit, and you will end up being paid for by me. Now...I don't mind charity at all....but I'd rather give it directly to you, than to give it to Washington to give it to you. Less waste, better stewardship, reduced corruption.
    • Local folks simply help each other better than outsiders. True...we all need help sometimes. But the citizens of Prattville have taken care of each other in an admirable fashion. If I help a fellow townsperson...I'm helping one of my own. I'm glad Washington exists...but people from DC aren't going to care for people from Prattville like.......people from Prattville will.
    • The role of churches is underreported and underappreciated. Yes, I'm biased. But it has been amazing at the work that our local churches have done in assisting those affected by the storms. There's a long list of other reasons that Christianity is important...but this is a small reminder of the good that faith in God accomplishes: it translates into serving our fellow man.
     
  2. windcatcher

    windcatcher
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    Tornadoes went through Molino and Chumuckla Florida on Sunday also. I agree with most everything you said except one statement:
    "If you can't afford insurance, you can't afford the home or the business. I was floored by the "no disaster" declaration. Then, I realized two things: One...it means fewer feds down here screwing things up. Two...it means that Prattville has done it the way it should be done. It is not the government's responsibility to insure my stuff: it is mine. Can't do insurance? Then rent. Work for someone else. Save up...and when you can adequately insure, you're ready. Otherwise, calamity will hit, and you will end up being paid for by me. Now...I don't mind charity at all....but I'd rather give it directly to you, than to give it to Washington to give it to you. Less waste, better stewardship, reduced corruption."

    Out in the country, my unclei in his eighties, at Chumuckla, was hit Sunday by a tornado. He lost a brand new barn.... some 30x50 in size, his garage and shop and back poarch, and one bed room wing of the house lost its roof. He doesn't have insurance: It would now cost him $20,000 a year for homeowner's insurance with a 5% deductable, based on the evaluation of his house, for hurricaine damage..... and this is over 25 miles inland, not near the water.

    My own little house (960 sq ft of living space) was already costing me $1,100 in homeowners insurance in 2004 when Ivan hit. (I, too, live in the country, on high ground, 2 miles from the local fire department.) I lost my insurance in 2004 after Ivan, and have been unable to get new insurance since. So 'insurance' is no criteria to judge on.

    When half of my new roof (from Ivan) blew off with Dennis, I was going through cancer treatments, unemployed, receiving no food stamps or welfare monies, barely hanging on to a Cobra plan which would end in 2005, and had to pay the roofers in August 54% of the cost of the roof they had put on in March! This did not replace the covered and glassed-in patio that was added on as a Florida room in 1996 and that Dennis took off nor replace the garage door which blew away.

    Local members of the community, church, and family are already helping my uncle cover and protect from further damage to his house. He is thankful to be alive. I am thankful to be alive: The LORD was already enabling me to stretch what few resources that I had, and some men in the church came out a while later and provided the labor to plug the hole in my garage which was left open with the damage from Dennis.

    But this is what life in America has always been about: People doing what they could to help themselves, and when they needed help, seeking and accepting what was available with thanksgiving.

    With FEMA being a regular show around here with every hurricane event, I've heard all kinds of stories, how people 'qualified' for up to $7000 for home repairs and how many received special government sponsored low interest loans. FEMA was here in 1995 when Ivan and Opal hit and caused structural damage to our property, then my husband died in October. Government 'helps' is affluence based....i.e. if you have income or affluence, you're likely to qualify with influence for maximum benefits.

    After Dennis, 2005, I could qualify for the cost of temporary tarps and labor to place them from FEMA. So much for government help! Its a little, but not what many people think........ not what I think when each year I pay my income taxes, and each year I hear these politicians promising more and more of what they take from me and from my fellow Americans is going to go and help someone in need. I'm widowed with no children, and unable to climb, but my brother and sister in law climbed to my roof and tacked on tarps until the roofers could schedule repairs. God provides when we trust him. God knows what we have need of!

    Our community has a nicely organized response team to help those who are elderly or disabled: But they 'qualify' a person's need based upon their qualifications for other assistance. If I'd been on food stamps, or welfare, or 65 years old, or drawing social security disability, I would have qualified for the assistance of a local volunteer team to help tarp my house and cover the opening left when the garage door blew off.

    I heard about the people in Prattville and the damage they suffered. Lets pray for them and thank God that lives were saved, people are helping each other, and the community will rebuild. Dependance on the federal government is false dependance. Local governments and local people have a real stake in the survival, and welfare of their communities, and if not bridled by regulations, are best able to work with the resources they have to help each other.
     
    #2 windcatcher, Feb 19, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2008

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