Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February American Red Cross Experience - Tornado Aftermath

Instead of writing about my KIPP experience this month. I am going to instead describe what I experienced this month post the tornado that struck New Orleans. 

For the second time this year, we went out on Disaster Assessment for the American Red Cross (ARC). A group of us went around to "sectors" designated by the ARC people. We were armed with "DA Forms" to use on a house-by-house basis. We recorded every house on each street as we walked down. We were each assigned a partner, someone to walk the other side of the street with us. It was up to us to determine the severity of the damage to each home, the levels being designated as the following: destroyed, severe, moderate, mild, and affected.

I have never witnessed in person the aftermath of a tornado. The experience was absolutely flooring for me. I would walk down a street, with approximately 10 houses on each side. House “1 and 2” would be perfectly fine, of course with the exception that they no longer had power. However, as I progressed down the street, the severity of damage increased. For some streets, by the time I had gotten to house “5 and 6” these houses were destroyed. In fact, numerous times I would get a to a certain part of the street, and a house would be completely “missing.” The four walls, the foundation, all of it would be completely diminished to ruble. I was in disbelief. A force on this planet, that could just leave someone’s home, someone’s entire livelihood reduced to essentially nothing. I wish I could say that I will never see anything like that again. But I am not sure. The experience was life-altering. I am glad I could help with the response, while I hope no more natural disasters occur while I’m here, I will look to assist the ARC again should they need it.