Shelter from the Storm
The destruction left by tornadoes that churned across the Midwest and South last week is still being measured, in loss of life as well as property. Despite all the photos, news reports and personal stories, it is still difficult to realize how broad the impact of any disaster is.
The complications beyond the immediate emergency are widespread. With my husband skirting around the tornado watches as he drove from job sites around Kentucky back to Louisville, I first worried about his safety. He was fine, but days later he returned to an apartment complex his crew was scheduled to begin work on only to find it leveled. There were injuries among some residents but, fortunately, no deaths. He moved his crew to another job a few towns away, untouched by the tornados, but they were forced to drive a long distance to find rooms for the night. People made homeless by the storms filled hotels for miles.
Businesses and people in the damaged communities will be dealing with reconstructing their lives for months and maybe years—some only after they’ve buried their dead, said prayers for the living, cleaned up the immediate damage, filed insurance claims and rebuilt.
We are tracking how the aftermath of this series of storms is affecting meetings, especially those scheduled in areas that were hard-hit, like Branson, Mo., a popular destination for groups. We’ll talk to planners who were forced to cancel meetings and others who might be scrambling to change venues and rearrange travel plans. We’ll write about risk management and emergency planning.
For now, however, our thoughts and prayers are with our industry associates, their families and their communities in Branson and other areas who are in the midst of the chaos.
One of our partners from the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce shared a blog and photos, covering events leading up to the night the storms hit and after checking on the damage the next day, as well as the response and messages of concern from people around the country during the following days.
Read an update about Branson’s recovery progress here.