Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I had the opportunity this morning to sit in on a meeting at the OXFAM headquarters of all of the heads of local and relief organizations who are interested in working together in East Biloxi. OXFAM has taken the point on the organization and communication in the relief effort. The range of organizations is from FEMA to Islamic Disaster Relief to Catholic Charities to NAACP and PDA. Granted there were probably a dozen or more agencies not represented but the feel of the meeting was very cooperative. Discussion centered around how to get temporary contractors licenses, guidelines on electricians and plumbers and a plan on when the area of the city will start rebuilding...about 10 days from now.

5000 structures were destroyed in E. Biloxi, most of those were houses. This number does not reflect the number of houses that are uninhabitable...that number is much greater.

This morning I had to scrape the ice off my car window and when I turned the car on, the outside temperature gage read 38. Most of the tenants in the houses are staying in tents, on the ground. There is a need for more tents, cots, sleeping bags and winter jackets. Not totally surprising, Bechtel, who is the primary contractor FEMA is using to deliver and install the trailers, has delivered a bunch of trailers that are technically uninhabitable because the sewer, water and electric has yet to be connected. In one case, the sewer was hooked up to flow into the sink drain...that makes for a pretty gross mistake.

People are getting bye yet I've certainly seen signs of stress in the locals I met when I was here a week ago. Depression is starting to set in with some as the feeling of being unable to control their surroundings continues to drag on.

Hope for a broken world...hope in brokenness...hope everywhere must continue to be infused into each situation. As I write this, I'm keenly aware that folks on the Gulf coast do not hold the keys to hopelessness...2 million people in Pakistan are homeless as winter sets in... Winters in the Kashmir region are slightly more severe than the winters in Mississippi.

Please do what you can to help...


Blogger Brian said...

Depression and a sense of hopelessness must be settling in around gulfport and biloxi - thanks for sharing your thoughts - the immediate connection through your blog to MS helps a lot. Found a couple interesting articles regarding the casino situations and the impact it has on the local economy - pretty amazing and disheartening.

the karaoke costume party was a hit last night - Noe was representing the 80's as a perfectly outfitted aerobics instructor - Sam Skemp has a voice to literally die for - he sounds, truthfully, like a cross between Harry Connick and Frank Sinatra - literally everyone's mouth dropped as soon as he hit the first note. And Bob was representing the 70's disco era with beauty - he stayed until about 10 for cleanup (a thing of beauty - he's coming with me to the chs/rls field hockey game tomorrow)

CSUMB folks all miss you - I forgot the pizza and brought soup instead - it didn't sit so well with the stomachs. Oh well.

Peace to you Erica this evening.


8:22 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

Erica - We miss you! But it sounds like MS needs you the most. Frost on your windshield in October is unusual...even farther north in TN. Hopefully, this cold front will pass thru quickly and people can find some sort of shelter before it gets much colder. Fortunately, this region freezes rarely.

The Las Vegas trip/wedding was interesting. Before I left, Mara described Vegas as 'an adult Disneyland', which I found to be quite accurate. Everything was sort of fake and larger than life. But we actually had a good time being with family and friends. Oh! I passed all of my written exams! Thanks for all of your prayers. Now I just have the oral exam on Wednesday.

It's amazing what you are doing for these people. I'm sure you are having such a positive effect on the people that you meet. Even the interactions that may seem small at the time have a larger effect than you can even realize. May God grant you his sweet peace this weekend.


11:34 AM  

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