Social media steps in to aid victims of southeast storms

6:41 PM, Apr 28, 2011   |    comments
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ATLANTA - Wednesday night's storms left the people of Alabama and North Georgia clinging to what was left of their existence.

Families lost their homes, family photos and heirlooms as a system of harrowing storms crept through the Southeast, during the night.

As the storms smashed cities from Alabama to Georgia, victims took to social networks like Twitter and Facebook to tell of their bizarre and frightening stories. Some found photos, documents and belongings from, as far as, 100 miles away.

Early Thursday morning, an anonymous Facebook member established a page called, "Pictures and Documents found after the April 27, 2001." The page's founder created the page so people could, perhaps, return findings to their rightful owners.

EXTRA: Facebook - Pictures and Documents found after the April 27, 2001

Since the group was created, people have used the group to "post photos, pictures and other items that were found as debris after the 4/27/2011 tornadoes". In less than a day, the group has acquired 14,758 Facebook "likes" and over 93 photos.

So far, group members have posted old letters, photos and mortgage deeds and seemingly antique documents on the site. The site has, quickly, become a popular database for people looking to reclaim lost belongings.

People also looked to Twitter to tell their stories of amazing finds or of survival. North Carolina resident, Mike Davis (@MikeDavis88) tweeted "My bro found utility bill in front yard. It has a Birmingham, AL address on it. He lives in Ringgold, GA near Chattanooga, TN. 170 mi away". Postings like his were abundant throughout the night and continued into the morning.

Anderson Williams of Birmingham was able to return a perscription he found in his backyard to Alan Olive, another Alabama resident. Apparently, the perscription was written in 1963 and belonged to Olive's mother who lives in Tuscaloosa, which is more than 60 miles away.

As of Thursday afternoon, many news outlets and citizens had defaulted to using social media to aggregate content about the destruction and to asses the damage in Alabama and Georgia; however, there are a some people still tweeting to aid citizens in locating their belongings and getting help.

Deb Chatfield-Rollins wrote a message to the Pictures and Documents Facebook group, that read, "If just one person or family is helped by this website it will have done its job but I do hope it helps many. Thank all who made it possible to be used in this way."

Others continue to echo her sentiments.

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