Sunday, September 11, 2005 Stories

The New Orleans Times-Picayune (which better win three or four dozen Pulitzers this year) set up a blog, NOLA View, to capture survivors' stories. E&P wrote about it:

The on-the-fly publishing system Donley and his team have built for hurricane coverage actually dates back to Hurricane Georges in 1998.

"One thing George showed us, because such a huge amount of people were leaving [the city], is that all of these hundreds of thousands of people who left wanted to know when the electricity was back on in their neighborhoods," Donley recalls. "They immediately got on the Internet and began slamming our site, looking for information and perhaps more importantly, exchanging information."

Last year, began using blogs to post regular midday updates. During Cindy and Dennis, which struck New Orleans over the Independence Day weekend and the week after, began running breaking-news blogs using an RSS system to feed constantly updated headlines to the breaking-news section of the Web site.

You can read the harrowing entries from the early days of the diaster and even more chilling ones that are being written even today at the website. August's archives are here. September's are here.

To get an idea of how well the blog worked as a flare for people in trouble read the following entries from this weekend:

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Name: Lisa Amos

Home: xxx-xxx-xxxx


Subject: My Hurricane Story -- Moss Point

Story: To anyone that can hear me.... two team members are in Moss Point right now!!! They say these people need help right away. They have given them what they can right now and are going to bring in some more tomorrow. There's approximately 400 people that desperately need food and water.

The Red Cross is too far away for these people to walk. They were promised that help would come today but no one has shown up. I have a contact there. Her name is Ruby Williams. She lives at xxxxx,xxxx. Cell phone is working. It is xxx-xxx-xxxx. She lives off I-10 exit #63. I been waiting on the phone for Red Cross for over 30 minutes and no one has answered. Does anyone have a phone number that works for them, the Coast Guard, the Natl. Guard, anybody????

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Moss Point update: Help on ground
2 p.m. update: We have confirmed that state and federal help is on the ground in Moss Point, Miss., as well as the assistance of private relief organizations.

A report
Relief workers with the Northeast Georgia Disaster Relief Fund responded to a cry for help posted on late Saturday afternoon. An assessment team left Slidell, La., headed to Moss Point, Miss., and discovered that the situation was even more dire than explained in messages circulating across the country asking for immediate help, Lisa Amos of the group said.

The Georgia group, plus another relief organization, were on the ground late last night in Moss Point. Contact was made through this Web site to the director of the Mississippi Emergency Response and the U.S. Coast Guard. Promises of immediate relief were given, but no confirmation has been received that government assistance has gotten to Moss Point near 1 p.m. today. (HELP ON GROUND, PER 2 P.M. UPDATE)

The first responder -- identified by Amos as "Devin" -- to this area described a remote community extremely cut off from help by a mass of downed trees and power lines. Most of the roads through Moss Point are not clear for travel. Eleven days after the hurricane hit, no food, water or medical assistance had reach the people of Moss Point. The Georgia group sent an immediate plea for help because they did not have enough food and water for the 400 residents in need of assistance.

Amos commended the relief team as she updated the group on last night's progress. "Most of the roads around the town were dirt roads that were impassable due to debris," Amos said. "They set up a distribution center and passed out food and water to over 400 people. You made this possible. At least they had bare necessities for one night."

Downed communication and power isn't the only barrier in Moss Point. Last Thursday, an alligator farm in the flooded community had a break and 200 alligators of various sizes were reported to have been loose on the streets of Moss Point. No details have been made available saying if the roaming alligators has made rescue attempts any more difficult. The owner said his gators were very docile and would probably run away from any humans in which they come into contact.

Angel Flights, a rescue group out of Oklahoma, has pledged to airlift any residents who need or want to leave to Oklahoma to waiting shelters and adopted families.

Amos said her group continues to seek help for the Slidell community also devastation by the storm. Medical help, in particular, is a dire need in Slidell, according to this group's assessment.

Contact source:
Name: Lisa Amos of the Northeastern Georgia Disaster Relief Fund
Home: xxx-xxx-xxxx


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