Life in the Diaspora: Surviving a Tornado in the USA, thousands of miles from Uganda

Posted April 20, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Featured ~ 5,784 views


By Solomon W. Jagwe | North Carolina | I have lived through some really powerful storms back in Uganda but nothing prepared me for the harrowing experience of the power of a tornado. Altogether, 45 five people died in the storms that swept through North Carolina all the way to Virginia. The memories are imprinted on my mind, and I will forever be grateful to God that my family and I were spared the brunt of the storm. Two houses down from our street, it was a totally different story and i was left amazed at how we survived such a close call.

My parents home sits on the slopes of the Mutundwe hill and I remember how often we were buffeted by the strong winds during the rainy season. The winds I experienced here in North Carolina were much stronger and more freightening. The wind speeds reached a rate of 160mph. Strong enough to wrap a car around a tree and lift entire structures off of their foundations. North Carolina borders the Atlantic ocean, and our soil is sandy by nature, so we do not have basements. The only place you can hide is in a bathtub if you hope to survive a direct hit by a tornado. But I saw buildings with showers and bathtubs ripped out of the insides and lying on the ground, which means even a bathtub is not as safe as the state prescribes.

I took these photos while on my way to a photoshoot, driving up 95N towards Raleigh. I came upon this neighborhood right off of Exit 72 in Dunn. The homes were almost entirely destroyed. A few people were going through their personal belongings, tvs, albums, chairs. It looked like a bomb had gone off. I could see the path the Tornado had taken, crossing 95N as it moved from Fayetteville heading North East Towards Virginia.

I left the Dunn neighborhood with a heavy heart. It looked like a middle income neighborhood because most of the homes were mobile homes. I wondered how many of them had Insurance, and when the government help would come.

This is the 4th day since the Tornadoes swept through North Carolina, but there was little sign of this neighborhood receiving help. The homes were leveled. I saw utility trucks and a couple of ambulances, which left me wondering how many in Dunn had lost their lives and whether there were some who were still trapped.

You can read more about my experience here:

Here are some more photos from the North Carolina tornado aftermath. Do please keep the victims families in your prayers.

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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