From One Columbia to Another: Flood Brings MS to the Aid of SC

Two cities that share many things – a name, a historical tie and a set of classmates – will come full circle this week: sharing relief from natural disaster.

The citizens of Columbia, Mississippi have answered the call for aid posted to social media. The Columbia MS for Columbia SC relief effort is targeted specifically:

  1. To assist Columbia SC area hospital operations burdened due to the flood event,and
  2. To support Columbia, SC hospital staff and patient families who have been displaced and are in need. Tnovsa is conducting this relief effort with the cooperation of the South Carolina Hospital Association, Palmetto Health, Providence Hospitals, the Dorn VA Medical Center and Moncrief Army Hospital.

Historical Ties

According to the Lamar County Mississippi Genealogy and History Network, Columbia, Mississippi, located in Marion County, was named for Columbia, South Carolina, the city from which many of its early settlers had migrated. It changed its original name from Lott’s Bluff when it incorporated to Columbia on June 25, 1819, "in memory of a district and town back in South Carolina".

The Connection

As New Year’s Eve 2015 neared, Columbia, South Carolina resident Catherine Fleming Bruce saw a post from College classmate Danon Vest Jones, describing the devastation in Columbia, Mississippi after an EF3 tornado left 5 dead and 50 injured a few days before Christmas. Danon was assisting area relief efforts and had turned to social media. In response, Catherine created the Facebook page Columbia SC for Columbia MS: Tornado relief, took to local media to share the news and challenged residents of the ‘Famously Hot’ City’ to help.

Nine months later, it is Columbia, South Carolina that is in dire need, struck by a massive ‘1000 year’ flood that has taken lives, destroyed homes and damaged roads and bridges. Flooding that warranted a federal disaster declaration; flooding that is still unfolding.

After many were left without water on October 4th and news that hospitals might have to evacuate patients, Bruce returned to the original FB page, inviting the people of Columbia Mississippi to help.

The Columbia, Mississippi response was immediate. In a few days, the plea for help from its new ‘sister city’ had been shared more than 18,000 times. Columbia Strong, the organization that led the tornado relief effort in Mississippi, is making a major commitment. The City of Columbia, Mississippi has declared October 10th and 11th "Days of Giving for Columbia, South Carolina!", and will collect clean specific relief items and water to meet the drinking and cooking needs of hospitals in the Midlands.

A truck bearing aid from Columbia, Mississippi is set to arrive at the Charles R. Drew Wellness Center, 2101 Walker Solomon Way in Columbia, South Carolina at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13th, welcomed by hospital and local officials.

Jeremy Robbins of Columbia, Mississippi reports: “We have organized relief efforts for our sister city, Columbia, SC. They were among the first to respond to our needs after the December 23rd tornado so unfortunately, in this short time, we shall return the kindness. “