Wednesday, May 12, 2010

2010 Nashville flood relief: a curious timeline

East Nashville has been a model of self-help in the wake of last week's historic flooding of Middle and West Tennessee. In the absence of immediate outside help, the Moss Rose community set up their own command center to ferry displaced neighbors in and out to collect belongings. In fact, they may have been fortunate to be able to go it alone, because I'm hearing rumblings around that other neighborhoods who waited for promises to be fulfilled lost in the effort to get immediate relief response.

According to once source, even East Nashville's Moss Rose community, which sits on the west bank of the Cumberland River could not get outside relief aid until the Mayor decided to pay them a visit, and with him an entourage. That source gave me the following timeline:
  • Moss Rose Drive floods deep.
  • Nobody in the Mayor's Office or at the Red Cross shows interest in the destruction until residents in the Mose Rose community start demanding some attention.
  • The Mayor schedules a visit to Moss Rose.
  • The Red Cross shows up shortly before the Mayor's visit.
  • The local news media shows up for the Mayor's photo op.
  • The Mayor shows up, shakes some hands, looks inside a damaged house, and leaves.
  • The local news media leaves.
  • The Red Cross leaves.
I don't know whether the Red Cross came back later, but if it is standard practice of local relief agencies to be more visible when media and Mayor come calling, then neighborhoods who fail to leverage either party or those who do not have East Nashville's community resources are out of luck.

I invite any comments here or e-mails to me from Moss Rose residents or flooded Nashvillians in other parts of town on their experiences with getting relief. The online and broadcast media, both traditional and nontraditional, has been singing the praises of relief agencies and Metro emergency management coordination with practically no criticism. The story about their performance is already being written without dissenting voices in the narrative. Organizations like the Red Cross, Hands on Nashville, Cool People Care, We Are Nashville stand to benefit depending on the narrative told and the history written. Local politicians will run on reputations forged in this crisis, leaving out hyper-local contributions. If there is a minority report on local emergency management we need to make sure it gets included in the story.

1 comment:

  1. My house is on Morganmeade Dr, just off Moss Rose. The water was about 6' deep there.
    The red cross brought me lunch on Monday, and they stopped last night and asked if I wanted dinner. I think they have been there all week providing food.