I’m not even sure really where to begin this post. As you all are well aware, Hurricane Irene had devastating effects on several states up and down the east coast. While there is extensive damage everywhere, the damage that hits the closest to home for me is just that – home.
Remember how we were just in Vermont a couple weeks ago?
That Vermont has been drastically changed since we came back to Maryland. In fact, if we had gone the following week like we originally planned, there is a very good chance we may not have been able to get back.
While Irene was only a tropical storm when it hit Vermont, it had absolutely horrific effects on this precious little state. Widespread flooding has completely ruined the state’s infrastructure of roads, leaving many towns and their residents on a virtual island.
This is a during- and after-shot of Route 4 heading east in Mendon, a town neighboring Rutland, where my family lives. This particular segment of road is roughly two miles from my parents’ house, was featured as #17 on BuzzFeed’s 25 Scariest Photos from Hurricane Irene, and was a road I used to drive on every day to work. This road is also the main artery that locals use to get to Dartmouth, the area’s nearest hospital offering specific specialties. Many, many people rely on this road to get to their primary physicians. And now this road isn’t expected to re-open until mid-October.
And this is what the entire state looks like.
Just take a look at this Emergency Response map from Google. The red lines all indicate roads that are completely closed, the red x’s are bridges that are completely gone.
We are so incredibly blessed and grateful that my family came through unscathed. Both my parents and my grandparents live on high ground and sustained little to no damage. The bridge on my grandparents’ driveway was a bit washed out, but was able to be repaired within a couple days.
But so many others were not so fortunate.
I put together a little video of photos I’ve gathered from Facebook that were uploaded by Vermonters. The photos I included were all roads I have driven, streets I have walked, and places I love. These do not begin to include those from the rest of the state.
**Update – this video DID have music…unfortunately I’m not talented enough to figure out how to get YouTube to let me play it. Sorry! **
Relief organizations are still attempting to get a grasp on the situation, and in the weeks coming I am hoping to organize a bit of fundraising/donations to send to these poor families. In the meantime, here are the immediate ways out-of-stater’s can help:
• Text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to Vermont Foodbank. The Foodbank will turn each donation into $60 for families in need.
• You can also donate to the American Red Cross of Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley. The Red Cross set up shelters immediately after Irene hit for flooded-out families to stay in.
• The VT Irene Flood Relief Fund is raising money to help people and communities affected by flooding. 100% of all donations will be distributed to businesses and families. The fund was set up by Todd Bailey (the former director of Vermont League of Conservation Voters) and is being administered through the Vermont State Employees Credit Union.
• Vermont Baseball Tours has set up the 8/28 Fund to raise money. Donations of $20 or more get you a cool t-shirt.
• The MRV Community Fund has been reestablished to help Mad River Valley farmers who saw devastating crop losses due to the flooding.
• VTResponse.com is working to connect volunteers ready to help with those that need assistance. If you want to help clean up and rebuild, let the folks behind this site know.
• Montpelier Alive is coordinating volunteer efforts in that city through their Facebook page.
• Volunteer and cleanup efforts are also being coordinated on Twitter via the #VTresponse hashtag.
• The Vermont Flooding 2011 page on Facebook is functioning as a community bulletin board of sorts.
• Vermont Helping Hands is also coordinating relief efforts via Facebook.
• The Help Vermont Facebook group is another place to share recovery information.
• The Red Cross is in need of blood donations. Stop by their donation center at 32 North Prospect Street in Burlington, or the Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital Blood Donation Center at 125 Mascoma Street in Lebanon, NH.
(all volunteer information via Common Good Vermont Blog)
Please keep Vermont’s families in your thoughts and prayers as they regroup after this natural disaster. I’ll be updating again soon.