Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Krymsk Flood

July 7th 3:00 am the Krymsk water reservoir overflowed leaving thousands of homes and lives destroyed. A city of 60,000, Krymsk has an estimated 3,000 still missing. In the news the death count is around 172, the rumor in Krymsk is putting the death count is up in the thousands already. Our window for finding those missing-alive- is closing fast. How the massive wave of water escaped is still a mystery. There are many rumors so far, none confirmed. 

Yesterday I went to Krymsk with a group from my church, driving into the city I was surprised to see normal people walking around, and perfectly dry houses. It looked nothing like a disaster zone. That is until we got downhill. The devastation is terrible, roads and yards full of water, houses folded in on themselves. Most houses aren't full of water anymore; instead they are left with the layers and layers of mud the River brought in. This is Russian mud, aka, sewer mud.

The aftermath is much worse than the government has been making it out to be.
Officials promised Krymsk would be back to normal in 3 days, they'll be lucky if things are normal in 3 years.
When the river over flowed sending a wave of water through Krymsk it bent fences, crushed houses, and destroyed all sources of power. This happening at 3 am, caused
thousands of people to be trapped in their homes. If you know Russian houses you are well aware of the metal bars crossing most windows, families were trapped unable to get out the window or open the door because of the rising onslaught of water,

An old couple in their late 70's stood clutching a phone on top of the table in their living room as friends on the other end tried to reassure them. Chances are they wouldn't make it through the night. The water rose over their house, but miraculously in their room rose only to their necks. They survived.

A Mom woke up to the sound of  running water, seeing it flowing under the door she shook her husband awake and together they grabbed their 4 children and all their documents, rushing to the car the family drove away as the wave of water flooded their house.

A family tied a raft to their roof and sat huddled with their goat till morning came and the water subsided.

There are thousands of stories similar to these, and thousands more that will never be told, not everyone was as lucky as the old couple mentioned above.

Clean water is hard to come by, clean anything, dead dogs and other animals fill the streets of Krymsk.

As I walked through Krymsk it felt similar to walking through snow, thick ,smelly, dark snow, that is how it covered everything.  I passed a Kindergarten, completely wiped out; anything left was buried in a foot of mud. Is it better the flood didn’t happen while there were children here, or not? Because at 3 in the morning the people of Krymsk were not given any warning. Maybe it was worse.
We could say that, but what does that help, wondering about what could have happened.

These people have nothing left. I can’t decide which is worse, they are both terrible, but when a tornado happens at least you can find the occasional thing, just thrown around a bit. But when a river caked in sewer and mud comes rushing through your front door, there is nothing left. Nothing you can recover. People can say that stuff is stuff, it doesn’t matter. But I swear this would change your mind. Try losing everything. For a mother it doesn’t matter that she lost her bed, her clothes, it matters that her children lost their pillows, their clothing. How are we going to live? How? There is nothing left. Katya repeated ringing her hands, she said this to me as Igor and Yura threw another load of ruined clothing onto the steadily growing pile outside of her home. She picked up a framed picture, wiping the mud from the front. A school picture of her small daughter, already waterlogged and fading. The little girl smiled up at us. Katya is one of thousands who are going to have to start over, they have no choice. There is nothing left. I can’t express that enough,
                                                          N O T H I N G .


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