Nature’s Fury—the Impact of Climate Change in the US South DAY VII Saturday—PART III
Rescue Operation in Silver City
As daylight faded on a long and productive day, the team considered whether we should just make a beeline back to Jackson. However, there was one more stop we had to make in response to a call from Cliff Tanner in Silver City who said that there was a woman who had yet to evacuate from her flooded neighborhood. We arrived at the house and found that the street adjacent to the house was completely flooded to the extent that one would need a boat to go down the street and all other homes had long since evacuated.
We were still able to pull in front of the house and we met with Ms. Robertson. She shared that she is legally blind and thus can’t drive at night. She also shared that the reverse feature on her truck does not work. She went on to say that she was planning to wait it out for another night and then head to her brother’s in the morning. She feared leaving her TVs and her deep freezer, which was filled with meat. Ms. Robertson had received a visit from FEMA that morning and, though they acknowledged that the entire community with the exception of Ms. Robertson was waterlogged and had vacated the area, they said they couldn’t do anything for her until the water was actually in the house.
We saw that action was needed. So 14 hours into our journey, in the dark of night, sometimes with only the flashlight from my camera as a guide, the team went to work packing up Ms. Robertson’s belongings so that she could make the hour plus drive to her brother’s house in Lexington. The TV and deep freeze were loaded into the trailer hitched to the back of Ms. Robertson’s truck.
There were many other items we could not load in or attach to the truck. However, the intrepid team found creative means of saving the balance of the items in the home. All were determined that the distraught Ms. Robertson would leave her home that night with relative peace of mind that all measures were taken to secure her belongings, as well as her safety.
As we left, Ms. Robertson gave profuse thanks for the fortuitous arrival of the team.The next day, we heard from branch president, Cliff Tanner, who had alerted us to Mrs. Robertson’s situation in the first place, that he drove by her street and saw her bench floating in the lake that had become her front yard. Clearly we had arrived just in time.