Back in the day, I would organize Saturdays around my favorite radio show, WPFW’s “The ‘Bama Hour,” hosted by the late Jerry “The ‘Bama” Washington.
Last month, hundreds of tornadoes touched down in the South. News about the death of 326 people and devastating property losses was washed away with the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Alabama was the hardest hit. In their hour of despair, Alabamans are worried they will be forgotten.
My friend Al White, a senior vice president with Hammerman and Gainer Inc., was recently in Birmingham, where he took photos of the devastation and Bethel Baptist Church of Pratt City. Or more accurately, what remains of the 114-year-old church.
Al expressed concern the survivors of the storms will be left behind:
With so many disasters occurring across the country, the tornado damage in Alabama and Mississippi with be forgotten and limited help will be provided to rebuild these communities. Many of these communities were facing financial problems before the disaster, and they have scarce resources to subsidize shortfalls in insurance claims to rebuild homes at current prices.
Many of the faith-based institutions in the South impacted by this disaster are not able to generate income from their church members because many are unemployed. Many of these communities will see a rapid decline in their population because there are no decent housing for their families. This will further erode their tax base. The homeless community will increase substantially.
Al’s concerns are shared by a coalition of organizations, including Mobilize.org and Rock the Vote, which is spearheading a national campaign to raise awareness of the disaster and solicit donations of money and supplies.
To find out how you can help, visit Rebuilding from Disaster.