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Your e-mails: Hurricane Katrina


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New Orleans (Louisiana)
Disaster Relief
Emergency Incidents
Relief and Aid Organizations asked readers to send their ideas on what more the nation could do to help hurricane victims:

My family had an idea. All the children victimized by Katrina might appreciate some books to read or small toys to play with. Maybe some more fortunate children could part with some old toys or books to help heal the hearts of the less fortunate. Of course, it seems a little too much to worry about this so soon. But is it really?
Steven Ieronimo
Mobile, Alabama

We heard that our local bed-and-breakfast had been opened to families that had been affected by Katrina; our citizens have brought food, clothes, money and support. The owner of the bed-and-breakfast is a wonderful person, not just because of this situation but because of who she is. She is on a fixed income, as is her husband. Is there any organization that I can contact for financial help for the water, electric, food bills? As I said the community has without a doubt made me proud, but we are a community of limited resources. I believe two of the gentlemen that are displaced here work on oil rigs and will be leaving to go back to work, separating the family again in a time that all they have is each other. These families do not have access to their checking accounts; as of Friday, they still had family in the hit area.
Marchelle Nobriga-Roe

I think it's every American's duty at this time to help out the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Money, clothing, canned food donations are all they are asking for. Some of these people still don't have electricity, toilets, food, water, clothing, showers or any sanitary care. Please help. If you go to school or college, try suggesting a fund-raiser or an event where the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross, or try to organize something in your community to help out the poor, innocent people in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
Danville, California

The government has recently made a dedicated ZIP code for the Astrodome housing refugees in Houston, Texas, so that citizens can mail supplies and donations there. I would like to see a movement to put pressure on the government to make shipping to that ZIP code free. It doesn't seem like much for us to ask of them.
Susan R. Frank
Avila Beach, California

My husband and I and a few of our friends just drove from Warrensburg, Missouri, to Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi, to help with the disaster relief. We could only stay for the weekend, but we were completely overwhelmed by what was going on down there. We drove down the coast in Gulfport and came across many, many people trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. We stopped and asked almost everyone we saw if they needed any food, water or clothing. Most needed water and food, and some told us they still haven't had any help from any of the military or police that are there. We also visited a shelter in Gulfport. It was at an elementary school that had no electricity or water. The victims were just lying all over the floors; the bathrooms were covered in human waste, and it was hot and smelled terrible. The U.S. needs to do more, very fast. There are many people who are desperately in need of supplies. I encourage everyone who reads this to please donate as much as you can. You might think only one box of canned goods won't make a difference, but it will.
Warrensburg, Missouri

What more can we do? We need to get these people out of the shelters as soon as possible. They have gone through more than I can ever imagine. ... I would like to see our government work with all landlords across the United States to see that we find a home for everyone as soon as possible. These people need a home. Landlords could file through the government, listing a fair market price for rental property with no price hiking. ... We could all pull together and see that a list of homes in all states was provided to refuges. ... My prayers are with all in need. Many blessings
Lawton, Oklahoma

Perhaps I'm oversimplifying the real issue at hand, but why has it taken so long to bring in portable toilet facilities? As a registered nurse, I see the potential for a tremendous public health risk in the days/weeks ahead. Why not treat the standing water with insect repellent and decontaminants? Bleach and chemicals [can] prevent mosquitoes from hatching. I have "doughnut"-shaped products to place in standing water, which prevent the breeding of mosquitoes. The health hazards New Orleans is facing now were foreseeable and preventable. It's all I can do to stay at home and not just go to New Orleans. Because many of the evacuees have been brought to Lubbock, I've volunteered with the local Red Cross and am ready to go when called. Such a shame the feds took so long. Moral to the story? We citizens cannot depend on our local, state or federal governments for anything. The "surprise" disaster in New York four years ago was handled better than this. Where have the billions of dollars gone the government put into disaster preparedness?

Merlene London
Lubbock, Texas

We are overwhelmed with the desire to help, even though we are not in the immediate Southern Gulf States. As we listen to all of the events, the stories, we challenge celebrities with the money, the resources to buy low-income homes or Habitat for Humanity homes around towns and metropolitan areas to give these people immediate homes, a place to call home where they can begin to rest and grieve and heal versus placing them in convention centers and gymnasiums. We are there to help. We just need someone to help direct us and make us a valuable part of the support process.
Dana Crowell
Kansas City, Missouri

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