Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Damages from Gustav

This story from the Associated Press details the damage sustained by Katrina Cottages on the Gulf Coast resulting from Hurricane Gustav.

"The Labor Day storm ruined dozens of cottages in southern Mississippi that were supposed to be a safer, sturdier alternative to government-issued trailers for families displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005."

According to the Clarion Ledger dot com

More than 230 Mississippi Cottages have been deemed uninhabitable by insurance adjusters in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav -forcing many into hotels and left to consider their living options.

The Gustav-damaged cottages have forced people into more temporary housing. FEMA's post-Katrina housing program is slated to end in March 2009. The cottages are designed to provide safer and more permanent living accommodations for families who lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and had been living in FEMA trailers.

"It's a tough situation for residents," said MEMA deputy director Lea Stokes. "Gustav took away the convenience of living in the cottage for another six or seven months while their house is being rebuilt."

The 230 residents who lost their cottages this time around were given three options :

A cottage may be placed inside a mobile home lot, with the owner being responsible for paying any lot rent or fees to the park.

A cottage may be placed on land allowed by local codes to remain permanent, where the unit does not have to be elevated higher than six feet.

Families may arrange to be placed in a rental unit, or apartment, with the state paying rent and security deposit, through Feb. 28, 2009 - the same day FEMA halts its housing assistance.

As for the federal aid to municipalities, no one is happier about the decision this week to give assistance than Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo.

"We had no injuries, no loss of life," Longo said Tuesday. "But we had about 100 flood-damaged homes. These are people who were still recovering from Katrina, so we hope the government helps them and us get back on our feet."

Waveland is in Hancock County, where the most severe Gustav damage occurred in the state.

Like many municipalities along the state's 70-mile coastline, Waveland will use the federal dollars to help pay for emergency repairs and Longo's overtime payroll to law enforcement. The federal government has promised to cover 75 percent of the costs.

Even before Gustav pushed more than 14 feet of storm surge into his community, Waveland was still in the red financially - and still reeling - from Katrina in 2005.

Every storm has it's signature," Longo said. "Gustav pushed hundreds of baby pelicans inland from the barrier islands. It pushed flocks of flamingos in from Cuba and it pushed thousands of dead nutria onto our beaches. That will be what we remember about Gustav."

More than 130,000 pounds of dead, beached animals have slowed recovery in recent weeks.

The removal of nutria, hogs, goats, dogs and deer has been slowed by public health concerns, but Hancock County administrator Tim Kellar said the project is 40 percent complete.

"Aside from the dead animals, we're looking at more than 100,000 cubic yards of debris," he said. "So the beaches have remained closed until further notice."


Jon said...

Not to mention the loss of revenue to businesses that closed for several days.

Not to mention the loss of revenue from the departure of tourists who were not here for the long weekend.

Not to mention the beach along HW90 being closed for TWO MONTHS.

Not to mention the damage to HW90 itself, which is undergoing a $90M renovation and is delayed another month while they clean up the mess from 2' of water that sat on top of it.

Not as bad as TX or LA, but it couldn't have happened at a worse time for us.


judyb said...

I know, Jon. I love western Mississippi Gulf Coast and it hurts to see it struggling to return.