Catastrophic weather conditions are certainly never a pleasant experience and the devastating effects they have on the areas they hit are usually felt for some time. Pictures usually tell the same stories: rubble and debris can be seen for miles, people are left hungry and homeless, individuals can be seen sifting through debris, and families search for missing loved ones. The scene is no different in Alabama, where a deadly tornado ripped through the college town of Tuscaloosa last week. At least 15 people have died.
The University of Alabama college town was one of the hardest hit areas by a string of deadly storms that plagued the South. Those storms have already killed at least 200 people in more than six states, according to an article posted in The Washington Post . The damaging effects could be seen throughout the city as the entire midtown was leveled. Although the tornado did not severely damage the actual campus, many students who live off-campus were affected by the storm. Dozens of students whose homes were destroyed by the tornado are currently living in the campus recreation center, where they were allowed to make phone calls through the Rec’s working landlines, as most of the town was without power or cellphone service.
The university decided to open up the Rec center to students seeking refuge while city authorities combed the city to see what type of damages the tornado caused in the area. Student volunteers showed up to work together to accommodate lines of displaced students and residents needing a place to stay after the storms. While the Rec center was initially providing shelter for both college students and non-college student residents, the school started to have non-students transported to a Tuscaloosa Red Cross Center for shelter and help. As a bit of good news during uncertain times, there are plenty of people who are in need of help and shelter, but more volunteers have showed up in an effort to aid than the actual people who need help.
The Rec center was accepting donations such as clothes, food, and toiletries, with a special need for the latter, according to an article posted in The Crimson Tide. The volunteers at the Rec moved around quickly through the center to determine the needs of students, and staff from the University Medical Center was there for anyone who was in need of medical attention. As soon as students heard the Rec center was opening up as a shelter for students seeking refuge, other students came together to volunteer. Such was the case with one student who said he received a text from his fraternity, which was urging members to report to the Rec center to help students.
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