Last night we had some bad thunderstorms come through. We didn't have any tornadoes like New Orleans. There were very high winds and hail. People who are living in tents and FEMA trailers were urged to evacuate to shelters long before the storms came through. Currently along the Mississippi Coast, there are people in 33,000 trailers and almost 8,000 are still needed.
In a scant four months, hurricane season will be upon us once more. Those trailers are very vulnerable. The places that are used as shelters will not be able to handle the people from 40,000 trailers.
A lot of people from Mississippi who lost their homes are still living in hotel rooms across the state. If another hurricane were to threaten the coast, where can we evacuate to?
"It's very difficult for people to think about right now, but they have to," said Robert Latham, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. "Those people who are in temporary housing are much more vulnerable than they were before Katrina."
The Aug. 29 hurricane ravaged the Mississippi Gulf Coast, destroying or heavily damaging thousands of homes and businesses. The storm also heavily damaged roads and bridges. USA Today
Harrison County Emergency Management Agency director Jack Spraggins said that we on the Coast will have to make plans to leave earlier in case another hurricane heads our way. His advice still does address where we can go. Most of the people who are the most vulnerable and living in the trailers are also the ones who are the most financially strapped.
In the event of another hurricane heading our way, I offer the following suggestions for our emergency officials:
1) Use school buses to transport people out of the area
2) Open places such as Camp Shelby, the Jackson Convention Center, and other places inland that can hold large amounts of people
3) Make sure the people boarding the buses are aware they need to bring enough non-perishable food and water to last 5-7 days
These suggestions will not only cut down on the amount of traffic generated by evacuees but will also provide places of shelter for those who cannot afford a hotel room and have no other place to go.
Usually we have to deal with evacuee traffic from Alabama and Louisiana when a hurricane threatens. A lot of the old evacuation routes are no longer viable. These concerns need to be addressed now. There's only four months left.