Nature Noted

Notes on a changing Nature

Name:
Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

I never would have predicted this one

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's the little things

When Dad evacuated to Memphis,he was able to contact his insurance, file a claim with FEMA on line and stay up to date on what was going on. He's in fine shape. But if you were on the coast, your access to the internet and even to phone service was, and still is, extremely limited. You'd think the government agencies and insurance companies dealing with this disaster would have realized this by now. Apparently, from this posting on Gulf Coast News they haven't.
People are desperately attempting to get through to FEMA who only has an online registration way of registering their situation. Problem is...there aren't any computers in use in Hancock County. FEMA and Red Cross state that you can call in to register you and your family. If you are lucky enough to HAVE a phone working, service is still sporadic at best, you are either placed on hold, or cut off altogether because the voice mail is full. My sister (who lost her entire house and all her possessions) called to tell me today that FEMA and the Red Cross are a "joke." She has no way of calling and getting a live person, so there's no way to tell any adjuster to meet her at the place where her house USED to be. Phone calls are worthless.
Let's be completely honest here since no one on a government or national media level will be: Communications are hopelessly and ridiculously trashed. FEMA and Red Cross are in WAY over their heads. This is still THE most devastated area this country has ever seen and if not for Gulf Coast News, you - the people spread out across the country and to the four winds from Hancock County - would literally not know there was anything going on there. The prevailing attitude is: relief from the west stops in New Orleans. From the east stops in Biloxi. And from the north stops in Hattiesburg. I mentioned in a prior article that a Colonel from Washington called me up to help him point out Bay St Louis on the map.
For people who do not know the situation on the ground let me spell this out for you clearly and concisely:
Hurricane Katrina's eastern eyewall passed directly over Hancock County with devastatingly high winds and sucking up an enormous amount of water with it. Hurricane Katrina was a MONSTER storm that caused unbelievable devastation to the ENTIRE Gulf Coast, and in particular, wiping out the cities in Hancock County - including the county seat Bay St Louis. Waveland, for all intents and purposes, is no more. The people there who actually have houses standing are the unbelievablely lucky few. There are hundreds and hundreds of people living day to day sleeping on the hard asphalt or on the ground because they have no worldly possessions! People wait in long lines to get what hot meals they can, and in one instance a man reported to me that he nearly gagged on the burnt food, but couldn't waste it because the hot meal was so precious to him. the faith-based organizations are working round the clock to help out with food and comfort to those who have lost all, but they will soon have to pack it in if they aren't supported or relieved of duties for even a little while.
HELP!!!!!!!! People in Hancock County, MS are struggling to survive! They have yet to unearth all the bodies that are more than likely buried in huge piles of rubble and Gulf muck. People who have visited to donate their time are overwhelmed by sadness at the incredibly inhumane conditions in which people are living THREE WEEKS AFTER THE STORM!!! I heard Howard Stern this morning from my radio actually call it best..."what are we, a third world country?!?"
One of the newspapers called for taking down the distribution centers to encourage people to start shopping again and get the money flowing. This may be fine in Biloxi, but Hancock County was DECIMATED! There are no stores. There are no jobs. There are no houses. There is one bank operating. Mayor Tommy Longo has no town left and is pressed to understand just where to begin. Mayor Eddie Favre is showing poise and strength, but is overwhelmed. We have not even BEGUN to come out of the recovery effort, we are not even out of the hurricane season, and they want to take DOWN the distribution centers?.

Bellsouth has set up free satellite phone centers. They have been a tremendous help. Now if someone could come forth with the same type of internet help in Hancock County, more people could get the help they need.

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