Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Mississippi Coast

I spent two months on the mississippi coast. It was devasted. Anything on the water and for a mile inland was decimated. And from what I hear, it was like this the whole length of the coast, from Alabama to Texas.
It was amazing how many boats were lifted out of the water and crashed on shore and over buildings, other boats and houses.
I didn't have much time to go out and see many places. I was mainly helping people get loans or grants at the Disaster Recovery center. Or various centers, in Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, and Laurel. I met some wonderful people there that had been devastated by the tidal surge, and now found themselves, to a man, without a home, without work, without money, and no hope for quick relief from these pressing concerns. And after the delay that FEMA had experienced in saving the people in New Orleans and other communities, I was glad that at least the SBA was there to help them rebuild their lives.
Owners everywhere were putting signs up because there had been a problem with looters. This only exacerbated what was already a desolate situation.
I was disappointed to learn that this disaster was so huge that even the SBA was having problems meeting the demands. A new computer system was put in place to help speed things up, but because it was being used for the first time, many glitches were causing things that took a person half an hour to do to take over three hours. Other delays were caused by Loss verification, and the lack of personnel needed to cover such a huge area. So the computer was turning down many more people than before the system went up, it was taking longer to process, and the LV's had bottlenecked the process to the point where only businesses were being checked, and all homes were left behind. Currently (as of Dec. 16, 2005), there was a backlog for homes needing verification of three months.