Saturday, September 24, 2005

NEED TOOLS - 9/24 UPDATE FROM CARRIERE, MS

from terri - i am posting it in entirety (omitted a couple of items i know are taken care of already) because i'm sure the situation (& tool needs) is probably the same in EVERY town affected by katrina:

have been thinking about the longterm. I know it will take a very long time for MS to recover. We have many things that are askew.

Many people who work in disaster zones have commented that they have never seen the level of devastation we have here. Nobody has yet said they have seen anything worse. For us, we see not just the destruction, we see what it used to be. We all have a centimental attachment to everything that was destroyed. Today, a man who has been to my home many times told me he had trouble finding it. All the landmarks are gone, the trees are down, fences disappeared.

We have entered a new phase, after almost a month of long days spent just trying to survive, emotional and mental health is now an issue. I have tried to identify the problems, and find solutions. I am not a psychiatrist, not even sure if I spelled it correctly, but I know my people and I know what is bothering them.

Children
All of the things that were familiar to the children are either gone or damaged. The whole landscape is changed. Many have no home, all are having to adjust to new classmates. The entertainment they used to enjoy has been replaced with hard days working to help the family's situation. Many have parents who are afraid, and the children are unsettled by it. The children can't run and play outside. It is too dangerous, leaning trees, broken power poles, electric lines on the ground, limbs everywhere, holes under trees filled with mud and water. Did you know that a downed tree trunk can stand back up? Yes, stand up and crush anything in the shade of its roots.

Adults
The task before all of us is monumental. It overwhelms some. We all have dejected days, those coming more and more frequently. I have seen father's be too sharp with children, mother's eyes brimming with tears. Three weeks ago, I would have asked the mother what her child needed, today the reasons for the tears are more complex. Men are out of work. A man accustomed to ending his day after a good day's work feels a sense of achievement. Many men are looking for work and finding none. Every yard needs trees removed and repairs. Most of the men have done all they have the tools to do. While we are able to stay busy, everybody feels better. Tired, but better. In the beginning, we saw progress everyday, which gave us hope and determination to continue tomorrow. That is being replaced with frustration because we have done all we can do.

I could write volumes on this subject, but you get the idea.

Below is a list of items for the Community Tool Chest.

FULFILLED! Chain Saw with at least a 24 inch bar or a 24 inch bar to swap out with existing one (please contact terri as i have no idea how chain saws work). This is needed because nobody has one that big to share, and all the trees that could be cut up with the saws we have, have already been cut up. The longer the bar, the larger the tree that you can cut up. An extra chain would be nice so one could be sharpened while the other was being used.

FULFILLED! Utility Trailer any size. Many of us have an SUV, van, or car. We need a trailer to pull behind for hauling debris and limbs out of our yards. Some of us have pickup trucks, but borrowing a truck, you are also borrowing someone's mode of transportation. We have waited our turns and loaned our vehicles to the pickup owner so we could use the truck. But, if we had a trailer, then I could loan it, know where it was, assign the next person, and such without making arrangements with a truck owner. Communications being what they are. Insurance does not pay for tree removal unless the tree is on your house. We have had prices of $1,000 to cut up one small tree and haul it to the edge of the road. [comment from the blog owner - I think this is SHAMEFUL & is likely price-gouging by the local asking this amount under the circumstances] Most of us can't afford that. And the elderly and disabled surely can't pay those prices.

FULFILLED! Shovel

Hoe

FULFILLED! Flat Shovel

FULFILLED! Rake

We only need one of each item on this list. We'll share them.

Today, a retired couple arrived from Waveland. I have known their two sons for years, but have not yet met them. The sons live here.

The couple's house. . . is now just a slab. Before the storm, they moved all their valuables to a storage unit north of the railroad tracks. The tracks act as a levee on the coast. He moved everything else to the attic, which would have been 3 or 4 stories off the ground. The house was a two story on stilts. Both the house and the storage unit are gone. Everything they own is in the two suitcases they took with them when they evacuated.

After seeing the house, the wife had a heart attack, and had to have 5 bypasses in a MASH hospital. She is a small thin woman, and is doing very well.

They are now staying with a family about 1 mile south of me, and they will be visiting to choose new clothes, shoes, toiletries and treats.

It is so nice to be able to help people. Thank you all for sending me the items with which to fill the needs.

[from the blog owner - items for the retired couple above should be addressed:
Katrina Relief/WAVELAND COUPLE
c/o Terri Thomas
1467 Caesar Road
Carriere, MS 39426
Phone: 601-749-4671
terri_965@msn.com
USPS, FedEx and UPS all operating (updated 9/23)]