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Monday, June 09, 2008

American Hurricane

Today i am here to share with you a historical night. You would be possibly aware that US is a land of tornadoes and hurricanes and i got caught up with one on an eventful nights. I stay in the state of Indiana and it has been severely hit by tornadoes. Every night there are sirens ringing and tornado warning is issued. In deep sleep you don't get up but yesterday was different.

It all started around 6 P.M. The apartment where i stay is covered by forest area on one side and there is a river that flows in through that forest. There is a mesh that separates the living area from the forest. A stream of water started flowing in from the forest end and slowly the water level started increasing. And in next 2-3 hours the water was like half a meter above the ground level . Though our apartments sit high but the water level was threatening ! As would have been expected in India(n) settings the power should have gone, surprisingly in US the power conked off  too.




Night at the Relief Camp in US
Night at the Relief Camp in US






















Around 9 P.M. there were police officers asking us to evacuate instantly. There were severe warning of more flooding and if inclement weather continued our apartments could face water seepage. I evacuated with all my certificates and stowed my entire luggage on a cupboard that was few feet high . In the dark i managed to collect my certificates using a lighter and even managed to grab a chapatti before leaving.

We got buses that took us to Columbus school. This was a pretty big school and 3 floor high. While i was making my way to safe basement i saw these old Americans in the front of the entrance. They were sick, too old, too obese and in too much pain . I felt pity seeing their present condition and since i had never been to an American home so it was more of a shock . We were asked to occupy a big hall  where Red Cross volunteers gave us a folding cot and blankets. There were water bottles, potato wafers and biscuit packets to eat. The sight of the place was something. So many Indian and American families all huddled up for safety. By the time everyone had just settled water started flooding in the basement. Again the caravan of 1000 people had to me shifted to a floor higher up. The old and infirm people were shifted using wheel chairs and stretchers while others gathered the relief supplies and moved up. Another hour passed and it was 12 PM  by the time we all felt a bit relieved and safe.


The trouble again started now, the entire basement had got filled with water as high as 15 meters or more and the families huddled up on higher floors with all the exits under water. This was already a scary sight and we heard an announcement that there is an eminent danger of power outage and more flooding. We have to move again.  God ! Another shifting of 1000 people; kids, women, old people with adages, some were on emergency apparatus even.  There was just one exit that lead us to the playground at the back of the college campus. The shifting again resumes at 2 30 AM and it was only by 4 AM we were transported to a safer place; another school. This time cots and other relief supplies could not be transferred along with the families.


People could manage to carry few blankets and we spread on floor and tried taking some rest. I tried catching some sleep while sitting and chair and could manage 2-3 hours of much needed rest. It was in the morning we all  were given some cereals and fruits to eat. Everyone was curious to know how the conditions in our living colonies were. There was no way we would walk back as all the entire town and the roads were were flooded . Slowly over the next day water level started receding and some normalcy restored.


Even after repeated warnings the families started moving back. I too asked for a pick up and reached home by 12 30 in the afternoon. The drama still continued ;no power no water. Without power one cannot cook as gases and microwaves don’t work. There was no option but to sleep again for 1-2 hrs. I woke up around 3 30 PM and sat doing nothing, waiting for power to be restored. Around 6 PM power came back and water supply was restored. I took a much needed bath and made vegetables sandwiches and a strong cup of tea. It is the same evening after that fateful night and i am here to a first hand experience with all of you. In the last 25 years of known history nothing like this was ever witnessed by locals in Columbus,Indiana. I think i was a witness to a historical event.






Floods in Columbus , Indiana
Floods in Columbus , Indiana


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1 comments:

Mannu said...

haan ayaa tha, paddha nahin.!