Rebuilding After The Tornado in Moore, Oklahoma
I am a nurse, and I am a woman. But I still have some brilliant ideas to share. Moore, Oklahoma has endured severe devastation, as all across America know by now. And everybody wants to help in some way.
We all learned that in May of 1999 a similar tornado followed a similar path in that area. And we all heard that since then the town of Moore was built back up and has grown. So here are some thoughts on what might be some options with the potential to save life and livelihood.
This pic was obtained from http://www.earthhomesnow.com/underground-homes.htm
Plus, let me place a link here that goes to a website showing how to build fantastic underground houses. http://www.williamlishman.com/underground.htm
So, what will the residents of More, Oklahoma do? We know they plan to rebuild. If they rebuild on their own property, can they ever feel safe again? What are the chances that they could sell their land (for a decent price) and move on? If they try to just walk away, won’t the creditors find them and try to force them to finish paying off their loans?
I am just a civilian observer, but I noted some facts. Some walls of some buildings survived, and so were possibly built to withstand serious tornado-force winds. Some storm shelter doors malfunctioned. The presence, or the use, of underground shelters seemed to be insufficient. For a town that is in “tornado alley” it seems like there would be stricter mandatory building codes to keep life and property safer.
If all of us who think of helpful ideas will communicate them, won’t that help our brothers and sisters in that region of our country? If I add a piece, and you add a piece, maybe all ideas will be weighed and considered? Maybe we can make a difference?
What can be done to preserve life, property, utility lines, phone lines, water supply – and how could storm shelters be built stronger? Or could the buildings themselves BE the storm shelters? Can above-ground buildings really be constructed to withstand 300+ mile per hour winds?
The TV weather man kept repeating for people to find underground shelter and that anything above ground would be insufficient. Many obeyed the warning, but some storm shelter doors failed. And there was insufficient water drainage in the lower “safe” underground area of the school where the children drowned.
Even if storm shelters, and storm shelter doors, were stronger, what can be done to help ensure an exit at the end of the storm? How many feet’s distance does the storm shelter door need to have free of trees, equipment, or other items? And since heavy items may come to block the storm door exit, what kind of a tunnel-like-structure might be used to expand the exit area? And what kinds of debris-clearing tools need to be kept in the storm shelter?
Would it help to have dome-shaped buildings? Could the Astrodome’s (in Houston, TX) roof construction teach some beneficial technology in this situation?
Or should all of the buildings be rebuilt at least half underground, with mandatory air flow systems, bilge pumps and generators? Could the top of the buildings be dome shaped and made of some sort of a cement-plastic composite? And what if windows were at least as strong as car windshields? Could they place chris-cross steel beams separating the levels of the house inside?
Could even stables and farms rebuild facilities underground? Maybe the long, sloping, underground tunnel leading into the underground facilities, could be the animals’ usually nightly path to where they normally bed down for the night. They will become accustomed to using it every night, and they they will already be in a safe place every night in case a tornado comes.
In addition, since the tornado tore away some inches of topsoil, how deeply should the power lines be placed when they are relayed? Should there be cement or blacktop placed above the entire length of where all power, gas, and cable lines are laid?
All of this costs extra money, and people would really have to “think outside the box”. Most people will turn to FEMA for help in rebuilding. Consider the total devastation to the area and of jobs. If your independent place of business has been wiped away, like the horse ranch for instance, how will people afford to live?
Here is my proposal. For a set time period – say five years – residents could work for the government in rebuilding their city. They would get temporary housing, and all other basic essentials, as part of their earned pay. Everybody’s pay would be the same, according to how many mouths in their household they have to feed. Each citizen would perform the work that they already know how to do AND learn to help in at least one area of construction work as well. All work would be geared toward rebuilding and maintaining the city. All able-bodied people would be actively involved in making sure their new town is built back up with the highest possible quality.
Of course, rebuilding using new and innovative construction would be more costly than traditional buildings. But if those structures keep life and property safe during massive tornadoes, wouldn’t it be worth the expense?
It could be a sacrifice because many families, and maybe even neighbors, might need to share housing, for a while, rather than shoulder the expense alone. It could create a whole different type of culture than the independent (sometimes spoiled and selfish) America that is seen all over the land – me included.
After the five year rebuilding period, the economy will probably be regaining it’s independence, and the extra governmental support could be withdrawn in phases. Once Moore is re-established, taxes in that region could be higher for a period of maybe 10-25 years to pay back what was done for them.
This type of rebuilding project is so multi-level that it would need serious legislation and willingness, on all sides, to manage it. I do hope that, if not something like this plan, at least something will be done to make sure that future homes and businesses are rebuilt with more thought to safety – in light of what kind of tornado damage we now know is possible.
Even if the town of Moore is temporarily smaller than before the tornado, rebuilding will happen. And it will probably become a stronger community than ever before. After all, we were all created to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth.
Hearts, thoughts, and prayers going out to you Oklahoma.
Here are some amazing pics from http://www.oddee.com/item_98085.aspx
Here are some great resources.
Underground Houses: How to Build a Low Cost Home http://www.amazon.com/Underground-Houses-Build-Low-Cost-Home/dp/0806988568/ref=pd_sim_b_1
Earth Sheltered Housing Design: Guidelines, Examples, and References http://www.amazon.com/Earth-Sheltered-Housing-Design-Guidelines/dp/0442288212/ref=pd_sim_b_1
Earth Sheltered House Revised Edition: An Acrhitct’s Scetchbook http://www.amazon.com/Earth-Sheltered-House-Revised-Edition-Architects/dp/1603581073/ref=pd_sim_b_6
Underground Buildings: More Than Meets the Eye http://www.amazon.com/Underground-Buildings-More-than-Meets/dp/1884956270/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369166002&sr=1-3&keywords=underground+utilities
The Works: Anatomy of a City http://www.amazon.com/The-Works-Anatomy-Kate-Ascher/dp/0143112708/ref=pd_sim_b_7