I just received this email from Lance who is good friends with my brother. I thought I’d share here, as all the media attention is on New Orleans, and this storm affected a much larger area and there’s still a lot of help needed:
What’s going on? I’m sure not as much as around here. I finally got access to some electricity and the Internet so I am emailing random people letting them know how things are down here. Kevin said your parents were fine and had power and I’m glad. We still don’t have any. We had some last night for about an hour, but then it went out and hasn’t come back on yet. Whitney and I are at her work because they have electricity. We’ve got some friends close by with power and phones so we’re OK. Hopefully ours will be back on later today or this weekend.
It seems like everything south of here is pretty bad. If you aren’t in a major town like Hattiesburg or Laurel you’ve got no power or phone or water. They are saying it could be a month before it gets back on in some places.
That’s in areas other than the coast. For example, they’re saying a month before Belhaven gets power. The gas lines are about a mile long. What gas stations have power and gas end up running out after a few hours. We’ve still got over a half a tank and we’re carpooling to conserve. They are saying more gas is coming in this weekend. It’s just Jackson is about the furthest south you can get gas, and the city is around twice the normal capacity because of all the people staying here from the coast. It’s pretty crazy.
I guess the strange thing is the lack of communication. Monday we had no power, no Internet, no radio because our batteries went out. I had to call Kevin for updates for the weather. We really didn’t know much of what was going on outside of Jackson until late Tuesday night. We still have spotty cell phone service, and no one really has land lines and if they do it’s almost impossible to make a long distance call. At our house we didn’t have really any damage and we didn’t realize how bad it was around town until the next day. Driving out of the neighborhood there were traffic lights, the actual signal light, split in half. Billboards were down, light poles snapped in half, and lots and lots of big trees down.
Anyway, everyone is doing alright in Jackson, it’s just a little wild. From what I can tell it just gets rougher as you head further south. I think one of the problems with helping people south of here is that usually that help comes from Jackson, but we don’t have power or gas to get down there and really help people right now. I think a lot of media attention is being focused on the direct coastline and New Orleans and a lot of people don’t realize that it is pretty bad all the way up to Jackson. There isn’t the total devastation, but you can only go so many days without water and by now all the perishable food is gone.
That being said we are doing great and Jackson is getting pretty close to normal. I’m sure by the end of the weekend it will be back to the daily grind if gas levels off. I’m not complaining about our situation at all, just getting the word out to those Mississippians who aren’t in Mississippi anymore. I know a lot of people are probably asking you about it so I thought I would update you with what I know. Hope you and Kristen are doing great, and drive somewhere just for the fun of driving for me.
I hope this helps all you Mississippians out there, who, like me, are no longer in Mississippi understand how far this stretches and how much help is needed.
Update: Later on, I received an email from my dad reiterating much of what Lance had to say, but adding that his friend who had been missing has shown up and has been invited to stay with my parents. He also added that some people have already highjacked a gas tanker. And then he dissected rather colorfully how our President is to blame for the current lack of support in the area. I agree.
Bush has gone from being a bad politician in my eyes to simply being a bad human being.