Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Live from Pearlington - July 4, 2006

Please notice today that there is a new .pdf format file posted to the right of this message. It is entitled: "SupPort-a-Pottie Program" and I would ask that you all open it and read it. It is critical that we provide for our volunteers in a way that the County cannot - or will not - do any longer. Please consider this request carefully and be in touch with me if you or your group is in a position to help.

Thank you.

Some quick notes from Pearlington:

We need, in anticipation of materials flowing into Pearlington for the rebuilding, to make ready the storage space pictured below, as soon as possible. It needs sides and some finishing and I am requesting that a group takes this project on and completes it. I believe that what one focuses on, expands. We will not attract large quantities of donated materials if we do not have safe storage to house them. We also have safe storage out on Hwy. 90, but it will not be enough.

Let me know if you are willing to take on this project.

The E-Z Save gas bar and variety store is now open in Pearlington. Mr. Mau Ho, the proprietor, invites all volunteers to visit and get the smaller things they may need, rather than taking the time to drive all the way to Bay St. Louis or Slidell. He has cigarettes, soda, beer, ice and some dry goods and the EPA should clear him to begin selling gasoline in the next few weeks. He promises the store will be fully stocked within the next 10 days.

We are, of course, always needing qualified tradespeople in many fields. Please consider coming down to at least supervise volunteers working in the areas of carpentry, house building, plumbing, electrical, dry wall and floating, siding etc. We can get the people power; we NEED experts.

The new building codes and FEMA Flood Plain requirements are now in effect, as of July 1st. We are unclear, at this point, as to how all this will affect us on the ground, but we will keep you all in the loop as it unfolds.

Laurie Spaschak is working on an updated Needs List for the Pearl*Mart and I will post it as soon as it is available to me.

There has been no bulldozing of the school property yet but it is scheduled for Thursday, July 6th. Our understanding is that it will not affect the operation of the Recovery Center or of Pearl*Mart. It is very clear that - in the end - it is completely out of our hands.

Some FEMA Facts:

48,000 people lived in Hancock County before the storm. The current estimated population is 35,129.

9,104 FEMA trailers are occupied at this time in the County. 1,267 have been "deactivated" as people get back in their homes and most of these have been returned to the staging area of Purvis, MS. What will be done with them next is anyone’s guess. Because of the rush to construct them and families living in them this long, I personally think they would make marginally acceptable storage sheds. But, I’m not in charge of FEMA. Too bad....

FEMA reports that they currently have no plan to extend the term of occupation, past the 18 months to which they have previously committed.

Work here continues unabated, despite the national holiday, and we would like to thank all those who gave up their time off to come and help. It is deeply appreciated.

The sun is shining, it’s humid and muggy and the cicadas make a racket you wouldn’t believe. God is in his Heaven and the volunteers and residents of Pearlington, Mississippi continue their toil.


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