Denise Petet

I visited Greensburg a few years ago. That town too was devastated by a tornado. Greensburg was also much smaller…the whole town was about 2 miles across. (the tornado was 1.5 miles, you can do the math)

The tornado did not hit the far east side of the town, and the local DOT office was untouched. So it became the rallying point. Survivors were told to go there to be picked up and evacuated. as emergency services came into town, they met there. It became the makeshift morgue and animal shelter.

Priority one was, of course, evacuation.

then they could work on putting things back together.

for power, they were at the ‘mercy’ of the electric company and what they could do. Honestly, in many cases, there wasn’t much they could do to restore power because there were no houses left to run it to.

any disaster has its command post. in this case, a communication truck was brought in to allow everyone to have radios that were all on the same frequency. then, slowly, as buildings were deemed safe, parts would branch off. Foundations were cleared, temp trailers brought in designated as HQ for various agencies as the need arose and as they were prioritized. (one thing about a disaster like this, there’s no set rule because every situation is different. In fact, I think the only real steadfast ‘rule’ is to search and rescue, search and recover)

last I knew, Joplin was still in search and rescue/search and recover.

then they’ll assess. what services can logically be restored? some blocks it’ll be easy. power might be as easy as tripping a line fuse. Others, a bit harder since they’ll need new poles set and lines strung. Water should be basically okay, as long as they can get the treatment plants powered. (A good thing about underground pipes, pretty much twister proof)

other stuff will just come as it comes.

I would think the hardest thing will be…well ‘everyone’ will want ‘everything’ as quickly as possible…and rebuilding infrastructure is far from fast.

they’ll need to be flexible and creative. they’ll need to simplify. cut the red tape. get a dose of ‘git r done’, but do it with practicality and common sense.

right now they are likely overwhelmed with help.

couple of months from now, however, they’ll largely be on their own. that’s when it’ll get really hard for them.And, right now, they need to think of that day and not grow to depend upon outside help. use it, but wean yourself fast.

rebuilding will take years. Literally. It’s been 5 years since greensburg and whole blocks are still vacant. there are still empty foundations, and some will probably never be filled. Just like New Orleans, there will be parts of Joplin that will likely never be rebuilt. Abandoned properties might become parks or green spaces.

I am sure Joplin will build a memorial of some sort, and then they’ll just have to take it one day at a time, and be patient. things should be relatively functional within a month or so, but it’ll probably be the better part of a decade before the scars truly start to fade.