This is the first day that has felt even close to a day off. We have a crew coming in tonight, so we are getting ready for them. Yesterday marked 36 days without a day off, and most days were over 12 hours, but things are starting to come together. At least for us it is becoming manageable.
One early newspaper article that I read said that almost 75% of the buildings in Harrison County (Gulfport area) were destroyed! Well over 100 people have died, and they still discover a body from time to time as they remove rubble. We’ve done this MDS work many times before, but the devastation is unimaginable and you just never get used to it. The destruction of Andrew pales to this. We drive through it every day as we assess jobs and coordinate volunteers. You learn to focus on the job at hand and block out the impact of it all as you work, but every once in a while I have time to stop and look…..and think….and I get a lump in my stomach. So many people are living in tents, and many homes are so full of mold that they are uninhabitable.
One church member that we visited said that there were 4 bodies washed up against the front of the house next to his after the storm subsided, and he was blocks from the beach. Many people who tried to ride it out were forced up into the attics of their homes to escape the rising water and then couldn’t get out. Some spent the day in the attic as the water rose even higher, but lived to tell about it. Others didn’t survive and died in their attics.
Pass Christian is one area where we have worked and this web site will give you an idea of how total the destruction is down here. Ironically the worst areas don’t look as bad – they are just clean – all the homes and debris was swept blocks inland where we see roofs on the ground with cars piled on top of them.