Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sigonella Sunk

It's worse than any of us expected. Several hundred families ARE being evacuated from the one of the naval housing areas (Marinai Housing) here. My friend and colleague Anne and her two daughters were among the victims. She showed me the photos today of "the flood" that crept up, up, up as they helplessly watched from the roof of their house. Her husband is deployed to Kuwait and due to get home any day. The water outside was well over a foot high and into cars. Dumpsters were floating around banging into cars as people could do nothing but watch.

Anne was awake while it was happening, but most were sleeping and many families were already gone on holiday vacations. She was able to get things up and off the floor (like all their Christmas presents). She has a photo of their tree surrounded by several inches of muddy water. They hoisted her leather couch up on two large plastic boxes, and a friend came over to get the brand new china cabinet out of the water. When her daughter went out to help a friend, the current swept her off her feet and took her about twenty feet.

Now all the units are filled downstairs with yucky, sticky, dirty mud. They have no electricity and no water, so cleanup is impossible. Buses came and took families up to NAS I (where the school is) to register for shelter and assitance. The Red Cross, Navy, and civilian volunteers worked tirelessly to help the families. People are being asked to take family pets, which can't go to temporary lodging facilities in most cases.

Families were literally walking around on our base with their things in shopping carts, like homeless people (which is what they are at the moment). The Food Court was jammed; I've never seen so many people in it. I expect them to run out of food by tomorrow (at least Taco Bell and Popeye's will).

Earlier today, they had not been ordered to leave their quarters on Marinai, but I feel that might be coming. There are no serious injuries, but what a horrible way to have Christmas.

We had no students today and none tomorrow. Many of my colleagues were volunteering and working to help others all day today. Here's a link to the story in the European Stars and Stripes.


At December 15, 2005 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you going to sign into Yahoo Messenger soon??


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