Spontaneous Order Leads Tuscaloosa Tornado Relief
As many of you know, the blog has been down for nearly a week so I haven't been able to comment until now on the Alabama tornado. The youtube gives some sense of the amount, and wide path, of devastation.
On a personal note, I really appreciate all of the emails asking how I fared. We are fine as are all our family and friends (as far as we know). The tornado by-passed Northport (where I live) entirely. It also spared the University of Alabama. As the youtube shows, many areas in the city and suburbs look like postwar Berlin including the communities of Alberta and Holt.
There is a more positive side to this story, however, that deserves more emphasis. The outpouring of volunteers and donations is not only inspiring and effective but extremely decentralized. The two local talk radio stations (joined by a few other stations) are on the air from 8:00 to 8:00 to serve as an informal clearing house for relief efforts. The station which started this effort has only three employees (who were normally not on air) and it has preempted the normal programming.
Typically, someone calls in to the host and express a need for a particular area or group. Ten minutes later they call back to say ten people showed up on their doorstep. Those coordinating relief often specify that they are short on particular goods and have too many of others thus allowing givers to tailor the donations. The broadcasts has informed me of several opportunities to be of help. You can listen in, and look at the talk radio facebook, here.
Although most of the relief effort starts with individuals who weigh in on their own, churches are playing a key role in coordinating it. I don’t know if a more secular city would fare nearly as well.
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