Big rigs lined up like dominoes were swept away by a large, black twister going 260 miles per hour on April 29, 2011. A block away from his home, a man sits amongst the rubble as he peruses his family’s photo album. Homes and neighborhoods were replaced by piles of bricks, tile, wood, concrete, walls, trees, and personal belongings. That is, if the tornado did not completely dispose of these items. Rescue workers are found working on injured civilians or recovering the 337 dead bodies left in the wake of the southern tornadoes.
Nowhere in history has it been recorded that such a large number of tornadoes touched down in one location. The death toll following the April tornadoes pales in comparison to that of the March 18, 1925 tornadoes that killed 747 people in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Adding to the ferocity of the storms in the south, 226 of the 312 cyclones touched down within a 24-hour period. Modern day construction and technology aided with the prevention of deaths that resulted from the April 2011 Twisters.
The photos portraying the devastation of the violent storms that struck the southern states do more than touch the heart. The images seen on television, in newspapers and magazines, and on the world-wide-web are heartbreaking! Aerial views of neighborhoods reveal miles of undistinguishable rubble. Cars that should be found parked in the drive way or on the street now rest in the middle of people’s homes. The citizens of Alabama are found sifting through the debris in an attempt to locate personal belongings such as safes, photos, and family pets or livestock.
Other pictures demonstrate how the businesses in Alabama were affected by the whirlwinds that touched down on April 29. One photo reveals the demise of a Ford Dealership. The weakened factory building began to crumble following the demise of the storms. The trucking industry lost numerous big rigs to the rage of the tornadoes. The farming industry lost livestock and crops to the wrath of the twisters.
Children lost their homes and schools, and were forced to be separated from their friends as summer began to approach. At a time when people were in need of a sanctuary in which to pray, they had none because they were destroyed by the cyclones. Some sought solace by returning to their place of worship where they had requested God’s mercy and grace at least once a week. Despite the devastation, the sense of community in Alabama was not lost.
Emergency rescuers took action immediately in an attempt to save as many lives as possible. Family members from out-of-state flew in to Alabama to help their loved ones recover as much as possible from the rubble that was once their home. Shelters were established to provide refuge for the inhabitants that remained in Alabama following the cyclones. Numerous relief efforts came together to help the residents of Alabama rebuild their homes, neighborhoods, and towns. These relief efforts are still in high demand as it will take years to restore Alabama to its original state.
Donations can be made to the following relief groups: The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Robert Bentley’s office, and Samaritan’s Purse. As always, The American Red Cross is the first on the scene to provide shelter for the Alabama residents who lost their homes. Samaritans purse sends volunteers to help in hard-hit areas of the southern states. The Salvation Army is supplying food and clothing to those affected by the storms. The governor, Robert Bentley, has started an online collection to rebuild the church and the community. Finally, the Tuscaloosa Hospital is in need of donations as they have treated over 600 injured citizens following the radical storms. Medical supplies need to be replenished, and donating blood is not a bad idea either.