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Smart Living After the Country’s Deadliest Mudslide, This Town Came Out Stronger Than Ever

20:50  16 may  2017
20:50  16 may  2017 Source:

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The Oso slide on March 22, 2014, would mark the deadliest mudslide in American history. “I don’t know that the Red Cross had ever encountered a community that would dig right in and take care of their own like How One Community Came Together After 4 Tornadoes Ripped Through Their Town .

Small but Resilient Oso Will Rebuild After Mudslide , Residents Say. Not one member of the community was unaffected by the mudslide , but the town will recover and be stronger than ever , residents said.

  After the Country’s Deadliest Mudslide, This Town Came Out Stronger Than Ever © S. Warren/AP/Shutterstock

It was the first clear day all month in Darrington, Washington, and most community members were out enjoying the sun. But the heavy rains had already done their damage. As the rain-soaked land turned to liquid, mud and debris shot out, bringing a chunk of Hazel Mountain with it. The Oso slide on March 22, 2014, would mark the deadliest mudslide in American history.

Sixty-year resident Diane Boyd was in the car but stopped when the saw the mudslide coming. 'It looked like a cement slurry,' she says. 'There was a house in the road, BBQ propane tanks popping. It was awful and no one knew what was going on.'

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The term mudslide works too, except that the mud describes the bottom, deadly part more than The flames weren't extinguished until after they had snuffed out the lives of 1,200 – 2,500 people. China Drowned by Flood Floods have also terrorized the Chinese many times in the country ' s long history.

After the fire, come the floods: Montecito and other California towns on flash-flood and mudslide alert just weeks after devastating fires. Authorities in an area known as northern wine country ordered evacuations farther south for towns below hillsides burned by the state' s largest- ever wildfire.

Meanwhile, Martha Rasmussen, president of Darrington Strong, was hiking on a historic trail about a mile from the slide when she felt the rumbling. 'I couldn’t hear anything; I just felt it,' she says. When she heard sirens coming from two different directions, she knew something serious was going on.

Rushing home, Rasmussen and her husband discovered their phones were dead. The Oso slide had taken most phone, Internet, and TV lines down with it, and blocked the main exit out of the 1,300-person town. They were cut off.

Before waiting for the government to send aid, Darrington sprung into action. 'Our people jumped to it the day of the slide,' says Rasmussen. 'We’re self-reliant and just went out and helped people.'

Loggers—the main industry in Darrington—and other community members started an operation to rescue survivors. The slide killed 43 people, but the town’s quick actions helped save nine lives, including a six-month-old baby, according to past resident Loretta Bedford, who nominated the town as the Nicest Place in America. Locals worked long hours in the mud, in temperatures cold enough to almost kill some of the rescue dogs on the team.

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Help came too late to the town of Teziutlan - because flooding had blocked the roads it was two days before real aid came . Heavy rainfall in Mexico caused by Hurricane Earl has triggered deadly mudslides in the eastern parts of the country , killing at least 38.

NBC Out . Your Business. Obama' s visit comes one month after the deadly mudslides that killed more than 40 people and destroyed dozens of homes along the Stillaguamish River in the northwest Washington community.

Emergency task forces from the county and federal government who came the next week asked the community members to let their forces do the work to keep the locals safe, but Darrington refused to back down with so much work to be done. 'They didn’t understand the slide. They didn’t realize how much material was down, because they hadn’t seen it before,' says Rasmussen. 'No way we were going to leave people.'

Meanwhile, others gathered in the community center, setting up beds and bringing in food. Eventually, the gymnasium would overflow with donations. 'We’d get it all sorted out and delivered to the proper places, and it would be full again in an hour or two,' says Boyd.

For about a month, the entire community rallied around the men and women searching for survivors and bodies. Instead of waiting to ask what could be done, locals would clean toilets, showers, and dishes. To save precious time, locals would eat all three meals outside or in the community center, brought in by other Darrington residents. Red Cross workers tried convincing the town to stop bringing in food for sanitary reasons, but they wanted to supply food.

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Jeff Gater, the county' s emergency manager, said that more than 200,000 text messages, emails and other warnings were sent out to people who subscribed to After the Thomas fire, the U. S . Geological Survey studied the burn area to determine its vulnerability for flash floods, mudslides and debris flows.

People in Montecito had counted themselves lucky last month after the biggest wildfire in California history spared the town . But it was the fire that led to the mudslide , by burning away vegetation. “I was frozen yesterday morning thinking, ‘ This is a million times worse than that fire ever was”.’

'A lot of people couldn’t go dig on the road or help people search for family members. All they could do was cook, and that was a big thing,' says Boyd. 'I don’t know that the Red Cross had ever encountered a community that would dig right in and take care of their own like this.'

Other loggers got to work creating a new road for people to come in and out. With the highway closed, anyone commuting to Arlington had to drive 50 to 60 miles out of their way to get to work. A maintenance road temporarily opened for residents. It was only wide enough for one-way traffic, though, so drivers would wait for the direction to switch every half-hour. After about a month of working 10- to 14-hour days, Darrington volunteers were able to open a bypass for the residents.

Today, 43 trees line the rebuilt highway where the mudslide took place to memorialize each of the victims. It’s a sobering drive for Darrington residents. 'I call it the ‘dark sector’ because there used to be lights there, and now it’s just this big, dark area,' says Rasmussen.

Through the tragedy, though, Darrington strengthened its already tight bond. 'You never want to have this happen,” says Boyd, “but it did pull our community together in a different way than it had in years.”

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