September 5, 2005

First hand report

I have a friend in Hattiesburg, who I emailed after the hurricane to check on her safety. Not expecting an answer for a week or more, she emailed me back on Friday, four days after the storm, letting me know she and her family were all ok. They had been without electricity until Friday and had 20-30 thousand dollars worth of damages on their home. It was a short note with a promise to write more later. Yesterday, on Sunday, I got this update. She said I could post it on here in hopes that people will gain more understanding on the devastation, even an hour away from New Orleans, and that people will pray, pray, pray for the people there.

To use a word that can most describe what has been going on is almost impossible. The hurricane was beyond anything we could have imagined or prepared for. We started getting high winds around 9 Monday and they finally calmed down around 9 Monday night. We had sustained winds of 100 mph and gust higher for about 3 hours The eye passed over us. Even after being here for Camille, I can honestly say this was ten times worse for Hattiesburg. My kids have now been a part of history. I can honestly say though, we all knew God was taking care of us and that we would live through this to give Him glory for what he has done.

We now have water....muddy though it is, we can't drink or cook with it, but we have now all had hot baths for the first time in a week. There are so very many who are not as fortunate. Two of the men who work with my husband, one lived in Gulfport and the other Pass Christian, have lost everything along with thousands more. The company was able to finally let my husband know they are alive which is a blessing.

The damage in Hattiesburg and surrounding areas is totally unbelievable. For days the biggest hospital had no water or power. Things are getting slowly back to normal for many, but many may be without power for weeks or months. There are so many trees down over power lines and power lines broken.

One thing I want to tell you though. Everyone is screaming the government isn't doing enough. They are here in force, guards are having to patrol the streets because of looting here, so I can only imagine New Orleans. New Orleans is a horrible situation, but a lot of what you are seeing on the news is just like the situation in Iraq. They are only reporting the bad things not the thousands of people that are pitching together trying to help each other. They had told anyone in New Orleans that did not have a way out before the storm, they would put on busses and take them to shelter out of town. Many chose not to go because they wanted to be able to steal and loot, not imagining the flood gates would fail. Now, many stayed because that is there home, just like the many on the Ms. coast. No one could have prepared for this. Complacency played a big part, in that we do get so many hurricane warnings and then they fizzle. We had prepared more than we normally do, because for some reason, we felt it was going to be bad.

We have had 7 deaths here. One man shot his sister over a bag of ice. One has been killed when his car was stolen. Human lives are all important, but what the world needs to know is that mean people are mean people and are using this to rob, steal, and do anything they can because the police are tied up trying to help people provide.

They have no idea when the schools will be going back. Our high school has power, but is being used as a Red Cross Center. The middle and lower elementary schools have so much damage, they just can't set a date. They are all within a mile of my house and like I said, the eye came right over us. The calm of it was very eerie, but a welcome relief. We have pictures and when we get cable internet back (which will probably be months) I'll send them to you. It would just take too long with dial up.

Thank you for your prayers. We are going to be fine. As I told you, keep your prayers for the people who have nothing to start with. I do have a roof over my head but many are sleeping in tents. God is good. 

No comments: