Saturday, October 08, 2005

Bay St. Louis

Wanted to share this email I got:

From: Wndbear@> Subject: FWD FYI: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN> MISSISSIPPI>>>>> Hi Everyone:>> I just returned from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and> I wanted to let you know> first hand what is going on down there. I know> everyone wants to help and I> wanted to let you know what I know. I am so tired> that I could be writing in> fragmented sentences so please forgive me. It has> been a long weekend.>> It is far worse than depicted on the news. It is> mile after mile of total> destruction.>> We flew into Stennis (KHSA) and immediately joined> up to the flight wing> there on the field. The airboss was great and happy> to see us. I and four> other> medics were dispatched to this airport by> Norcom/FEMA which turns out was a> mistake on their part. Regardless, it worked out.>> It was one hell of a sight with the Marines, Navy,> Army, Coast Guard, and> Forestry service all invading this airport. When we> hit the ground they> packed> us> full of MREs and sent us to Bay St. Louis which was> one of the hardest hit> areas.>> We showed up at the FEMA command center next to the> Hancock County Hospital> (total destroyed) and tried to get an idea of where> we were needed. To say> the> least, FEMA had no idea what was going on. From what> we could see, they had> a> lot of pretty trucks and great equipment but weren't> really getting into the> field to help people. They treated us terrible.>> After two hours of sitting around, they sent us to> the converted Kmart> parking lot then assembling hospital courtesy of the> North Caroline> Emergency> Response Unit. This group was great. They brought> their own security and> formed> a> safety parameter around us. When the swat team got> on the roof of Kmart (for> cover), they found 11 dead bodies up there. This was> just the beginning. In> the> Kmart, that looked like a bomb had gone off inside> it, they found 45 more> bodies.>> The scattered cars, that were in the parking lot,> yielded another 20 or so> bodies. To make matters worse, when night fell> alligators, snakes, and wild> dogs> invaded the area. Several small alligators were shot> on sight bythe North> Carolina Security Forces with the M-4s. We did> nothing but sit around> waiting to> be utilized or eaten. What we quickly realized is> that there was no one> going> out into the field helping people, delivering health> and food supplies.>> Finally, on Monday morning, we were sent south to> recover four children that> were orphaned and rescue a fire department that was> in need of desperate> medical help. Someone had sent word from this> neighborhood that they needed> help.> Two of the kids were supposed to go to Riley> Hospital, Indianapolis. We> joined> up with a Marine platoon and five Florida State> Troopers (yes in> Mississippi)> to go to this site.>> We assembled in Bay St. Louis. We felt well> protected of course. Both of> these of these units were totally frustrated with> FEMA and pretty much> volunteered> to go as they were sitting there doing nothing. When> we got out into the> bush> (Stennis/NASA test area) south of Bay St. Louis we> finally got to the> neighborhood where we were needed. This neighborhood> had not seen anyone> since> the> hurricane and we were the first ones in there.>> Words can not possibly describe what I saw. Even my> photos don't do it> justice. There were very few human survivors. There> was not one home that> survived> the storm. Everyone was living on the curb in make> shift tents. Virtually> every> home looked like someone had thrown a stick of> dynamite in it. Enormous> trees> and telephone poles had been snapped north and some> south. What this means> is> that the eye went right over this area creating a> violent wind shift. These> houses, which were three miles north of the ocean> had been submerged under> 35> feet of water.>> We delivered all the supplies we had. I even gave> away my tent, sleeping> bag,> and ever bit of food and water I had because they> clearly needed it more> than> me. I went home with my shorts, shoes, and shirt.> Most appreciated were dry> socks, shoes, MREs, and fruit. I wish I would have> brought more bananas and> oranges because these are unheard of down there. All> of the survivors had> diarrhea and a rash all over their body.>> The reason why they haven't left is because they> don't have any cars or fuel> to get them into town. There is no electricity,> running water, sewer> service,> fuel, or even radio to give them any idea what is> going on. This> neighborhood> was totally cut off from the world. and this is one> little tiny neighborhood> in the scope of thousands of square miles that are> totally obliterated. The> marines used two trucks for medical pickup. The rear> truck was for dead> bodies> and the forward truck was for survivors that needed> immediate help and were> transported to SMAT for medical assistance.>> Our medical team and Florida State Police unit went> forward into> neighborhood> to locate the four children that desperately needed> help. It took us about> two hours to find them and via my sat phone I> located the surviving> grandparents. The grandparents were a bit> overwhelmed when they learned that> there> grandchildren had survived, but their son/daughter> had not. It was a> bittersweet> phone call.>> When we got to the children, we found them in towels> but in good spirits.> They really didn't understand what was going on.> They were immediately> treated> by> the medics and put into the State Police Cars. We> got them to SMAT, for> hasmat and medical treatment. Many of these> survivors were covered in> chemicals> and> petroleum that were all part of the flood.>> In our search, we found many survivors as well> victims. It wasn't the wind> that killed these people, it was the surge. Many of> the victims drown in> their> own home. Finding deceased children was the hardest.> One guy that we spoke> to> said that he climbed up on his roof and literally> rode his house like a> survival boat. He described a massive wave that came> along and literally> ripped> his> house off the support sticks it was on.>> The picture (I took) shows the house about fifty> feet from where it was> previously mounted. The trees in his yard stopped> the house. It is an> incredible> picture. Another guy told me that his dad was going> to try to ride it out on> their boat. He has never heard from him since. He> thinks he was carried out> to> sea.>> I was only in a little tiny area considerably north> of the Gulf of Mexico.> Every structure that I saw was totally obliterated> by the floods. Until you> see> it, it is hard to comprehend the extensiveness and> completeness of the> destruction. No camera can possible describe it.>> To shorten the story, on Sunday we were able to drop> two boys off in> Owensboro, KY to two very happy grandparents that> found it hard to talk. All> of> us> were very chocked up when we popped open the door> and watched the kids run> to> their grandparents. A Piper Meridian is supposed to> hold only 6 people but> on> this day we squeezed 7 in there. I hope the FAA will> forgive me. We got some> fuel> in OWB and went on to Indianapolis where were> dropped the two other boys off> in Indianapolis with the other grandparents and> cousins that were going to> care for them. It was a similar emotional> rollercoaster.>> Our little mission helped save several lives and> mend several families.> Several retired Delta Captains worked tirelessly to> get us NORCOM and FEMA> approval> to land in a very hot area. I know I am not going to> mention all of them but> I wanted to mention a few. Retired Captain Dave> Smith, Retired Captain David> Chuhran, Retired Captain Ray Bell, Retired Captain> Marty Cavato, and many> many> others. You guys got us, and our assets, in a much> needed area regardless of> the FEMA bullshit going on down there. You saved> lives and made a different> in> the world. I thank you and the families you helped> thank you.>> The people of Mississippi are very grateful for> everything the world is> doing> to help them. One guy pulled me aside and said,> "When you get back out to> the> world, please tell the world thank you." They are> very proud people that> don't want to leave their post. Many of these> survivors, even in the> conditions> they are in, have managed to find an American Flag> and fly it high. These> people> are tough.>> There is good in the world. I saw an amazing group> of people, from all parts> of the country, join as Americans, as we should, and> help our fellow> Americans. We forgot about the market, our> mortgages, and our problems, and> for> two> days searched the end of the earth to find and help> people in the most> incredible> hellish landscape I have ever seen. I was joined by> the Missouri National> Guard, Marines from Cherry Point, a mission group> from Alabama, Troopers> from> Florida, medivac Pilots from Tennessee, medics from> Indiana to form a team> to> help. It was an incredible experience and I am so> glad I went.>> In closing I want to say that I am terrible> disappointed in FEMA. There were> totally unprepared and unaware of the situation> around them. I saw first> hand> that they aren't trying hard enough and thinking out> of the box. They are> expecting victims to come to them which is> unrealistic. I will tell you who> was> there way ahead of FEMA.. The churches and the> volunteers. I saw several> church> missions that were in the epicenter of the> destruction with no protection> and> far less resources than the government. These people> left their families and> their jobs to come help. I was most impressed with a> gentleman called Robert> Murdock with a Christian mission out of Orange> Beach, AL. Their mission is> there> right now, in the worst area (Bay St. Louis), and> needs help. They are> feeding and clothing people that have lost> everything. If you would like to> get> in> there, or have your church join forces, here is the> contact number:>> Christian Life> Pastor: Rick Long> Phone Number: 251-967-4840> Other: Robert Murdock (in the field there) Cell> (unreliabile) 251-609-3557>> Well there was my experience.\ .>

I'd like to add that the Canadian Mountees showed up in Louisiana way before Fema ever did. Thank You Canada.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Sometimes I miss all my stuff. :(

FEMA you suck!