A Matter Of Opinion

TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 2008, 1:15 P.M.

Letters and tornadoes

The fact that letters aren't currently available online for Sunday or Tuesday has been brought to our attention and is being worked on. Meanwhile here's one from today.

Rekha Basu’s column on tornadoes ("Tornadoes can’t destroy strong civic connections," June 6) was lovely but meaningless. The loss of one home and its contents is devastating economically, sociologically and psychologically.

Economically, the "things" that are lost can’t be replaced, at least at the quality they were, as insurance companies depreciate goods and buildings as much as possible and few have the savings to make up the difference, particularly the elderly and wage-earners.

Sociologically, our status is determined by the house we have and its contents. Those who rebuild normally end up with less of a house than they started with and some are forced to move into cheaper houses in less desirable neighborhoods where they are strangers. This results in a loss of social status.

Psychologically, there’s the fear it could happen again. There’s the discomfort of insurance forms, loss of equity, uncertainty about the future and the stress of making acceptable replacements quickly. You would be surprised at how many survivors wished they hadn’t.

Have you ever experienced a major disaster? What's the most important component of recovering from one?

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