Whitcomb: ‘The needs are unbelievable…’

Whitcomb: 'The needs are unbelievable…' By Guest Commentary Thanks for your thoughts.

John and his wife (My sister in law � Jaynie's nephew) and family lost everything including their car when their house was flooded with five feet of water. They need clothes and basic house items. Berlyn and AnnAdelle (Jaynie's sister) had five feet of water in their house and they lost all their clothes.

We helped get the mud out and dried out the furniture last week and I took John my truck so he has transportation. Now both families will need to replace all the electrical outlets and drywall in both houses.

Whatever is collected should be delivered to the Missouri Valley Recycling Center in Vermillion in care of Phyllis Packard. You may call her at 670-2588.

Twenty-six people died in Ocean Springs which is located just across the bay from Biloxi. While we were there we never saw the Red Cross or FEMA. The city employees, in spite of losing their homes, were terrific. A great story � the city of Chicago adopted Ocean Springs and sent 14 18-wheelers with immediate emergency supplies and 40 people to distribute the same. They arrived one day after the storm � they had a police escort from Chicago and drove 80 mph direct to Ocean Springs.

It was a godsend for the residents who were stranded. Of course the media doesn't mention things like that.

The needs are unbelievable and there are very few places to purchase needed goods. Must go to Mobile, Tallahassee, or Atlanta. They do have electricity back in most of the city where houses still exist. I can assure you that all will be most appreciated.

I will be returning to Ocean Springs by car to help on Thursday next week.

Talking with John he told me the local head of the Red Cross quit the first day after the storm � stress. John also told how the mayor and alderman couldn't make decisions so he took over and wrote contracts with the tree removal company, the power company and the 911 Cingular supplier to allow them to set up command centers in the city.

He, under emergency powers, took control of the parking areas of the local malls and allowed the suppliers to set up and control access. As of the time we left on Tuesday they still had not seen anyone from FEMA and when the press asked them about their reaction to FEMA the city was quoted as saying "who is FEMA?"

The local city planner and John also went through neighborhoods marking the location of bodies, some of whom were people John knew.

There are many more stories which I will write down next week.

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