Katrina toll mounts; local charities mobilizeWritten by Myndi Milliken | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Gulf Coast residents staggered from the body-blow inflicted by Hurricane Katrina, with more than a million people sweltering without power, miles of lowlands swamped and at least 55 dead — a number likely to increase as rescuers reach the hardest-hit areas.
Even with Katrina to the north, a large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee gave way Monday afternoon in New Orleans, sending a churning sea of water coursing across the western part of the city.
Residents who had ridden out the brunt of Katrina now faced a second, more insidious threat as flood waters continued their ascent well into the night.
“The hurricane was scary,” Scott Radish told The Times-Picayune. “All the tree branches fell, but the building stood. I thought I was doing good. Then I noticed my Jeep was under water.”
Across the Gulf Coast, people were rescued in boats as they clung to rooftops, hundreds of trees were uprooted and sailboats were flung about like toys when Katrina crashed ashore Monday in what could become the most expensive storm in U.S. history.
The federal government began rushing baby formula, communications equipment, generators, water and ice into hard-hit areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, along with doctors, nurses and first-aid supplies.
The Pentagon sent experts to help with search-and-rescue operations.
Katrina knocked out power to more than a million people from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, and authorities said it could be two months before electricity is restored to everyone. Ten major hospitals in New Orleans were running on emergency backup power.
“This is our tsunami,” Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway told the Biloxi Sun Herald.
Kristen Cajka, spokeswoman for the Toledo Chapter of the American Red Cross, said three local disaster unit volunteers have been deployed to areas affected by the hurricane. These volunteers will assist in mass care — securing food, water and shelter.
“The very best thing [people] can do is send money,” Cajka said. The money will assist families in acquiring the basics and for standardized client-assistance cards to help purchase needed supplies.
Donations can be made online at www.americanredcross.com, by calling 1-800-435-7669, or by mail: ARC, P.O. Box 595, Toledo, OH 43697-0595.
ISOH/IMPACT has several item drop-off locations to donate needed items or money.
“We’re getting the word out and we’ve had a great deal of calls,” said Barb Brotzki, an employee of the service organization.
Brotzki said there is a real need for monetary donations, which will help pay for fuel and packing to ship donated items to places in need. Volunteers and additional donation drop-off sites are also needed.
Items accepted by ISOH/IMPACT are tarps, ropes, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats, cleaning supplies, purchased bottled water, flashlights and batteries, diapers, large garbage bags, manual can openers, bug repellent, toilet paper, paper towels, Handi-wipes, and baby formula. The organization asks that no glass or clothing be dropped off.
Drop-off locations include: ISOH/IMPACT, 905 Farnsowrth Rd., Waterville; Cathedral of Praise, 3000 Strayer Rd., Maumee; Collingwood Presbyterian, 2108 Collingwood Blvd.; Foodtown, 8926 Lewis Ave., Temperance; and Mayberry Square in Sylvania.
For information on ISOH/IMPACT’s efforts, call (419) 878-8584.
-— Myndi Milliken,
with additional reporting from Associated Press