Sunday, May 1, 2011

And So It Goes (Alabama/Illinois)

It would be easy to post pictures of pretty spring flowers I have seen, and I'll get back to that.

But right now, I don't think those pretty spring flowers are important at all. You'll have to wait for those.

Southern Illinois is still flooding. Parts of it along the Mississippi are rapidly turning into little "islands". I was reading a news story about a man basically taking people back and forth in his boat between their houses and the nearest dry place that their cars are parked, so they can go to and from work. There are photos of people riding horses through the floodwater. The sandbags in Cairo, Illinois are starting to go. They've ordered "non-essential" people to evacuate the town.

The town I lived in for six years, Carbondale, has set up an area for evacuees to stay in. They already have people staying there. Murphysboro, less than ten minutes down the road from Carbondale, is looking at a possible loss of their wastewater treatment plant due to flooding. Sandbags have been airlifted in. The Big Muddy is expected to crest less than an inch from its previous record and roads have been closed all over Jackson, Massac, and Franklin counties to deal with the onslaught of water.

My friend in Cape Girardeau is still watching the Mississippi and its inexorable climb. Discussions are happening on whether or not to purposefully flood certain areas in order to relieve the strain on more-populated ones.

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, help is on the ground. Volunteers are showing up to help in whatever ways they can. My throat closes up reading the opening line about a truck showing up with some Krispy Kreme donuts - sure, it's not any kind of permanent help there, but it's a start. It's something normal.

My friend who was living in Tuscaloosa is looking at complete uncertainty as to when power and water will come back. She and her husband are doing the best they can to figure out what to do. The National Guard/Red Cross took over the parking lot next to their apartment for the relief effort.

The whole state is looking at debris, picking through rubble to find what's left.

There is a lot of damage and destruction, and it's only been a couple of days. It's incredible how quickly devastation on this scale in our own country fades from the front page of the newspapers not in the immediate area, how easily these storms and floods became a tiny link below large pictures of William and Kate in England getting married on

I know it's hard to think about, I do. But please, please consider donating or helping in any way you can. We are talking about people who have lost everything, who are staring at five blocks of nothing but debris and flatness. We're talking about people desperately building sandbags to hold off a wall of water. We are talking about empty towns and people who need every ounce of clean water they can get.

I am going to repost, now, a post my friend Tea made about where to donate, places you can give money to, ways we can help.

Obviously, this particular post is focused harder on ways to send help to Alabama. It was the hardest hit state and is having the worst time dealing with the destruction. These tornadoes cut a swath across the lower half of this country, but the highest death-toll, by far, was in Alabama. The Red Cross will be on the ground wherever they are needed. There is a Mississippi Disaster Relief Fund set up for victims in MS.


Originally posted here.

As you’ve probably noticed, one of my best friends in the whole world lives in Tuscaloosa. You can read about her experiences these past few days here.

Here are some ways you can help.

CBS42 has a list of ways to donate water, non-perishable food items, clothing, etc., for people who are within driving distance. has more ways for people who are in the region to help.

If you want to volunteer, call the United Way at 211.

[info]alephz took the time to put together a list of ways to donate money. I’m c/ping that here.

You can donate to the Alabama Red Cross. Or even the regular Red Cross. There’s also the Salvation Army and the Alabama Governer’s Emergency Relief Fund

There is also a link to many ways you can help here:

Stuff to send to Alabama.

A couple things you should know: They are looking most for money, bottled water, and non-perishable food items, flashlights, batteries, hand sanitizer, as well as gift cards to stores like Wal-Mart, Lowes, and other big chain stores that are located in the area.

Anyone who sends me confirmation of a donation of $10 or more (you can send me a photo of a text confirmation if you do the text to the Red Cross or Salvation Army thing) will get a black and white drawing of a single figure (person, animal or thing). If you send $50 or more, I will draw 2-3 figures for you.

Please re-post this anywhere you can.


Please don't look away from these hard moments.

These people need whatever help we can give, whatever items we can send.

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