Christian Children’s Fund is responding to meet the immediate needs of children and families in central and northern Mississippi where the impact of Hurricane Katrina is being felt in CCF program areas. While the devastation on the coast is being widely reported, areas in central and northern Mississippi have experienced major power outages and significant property and structural damage as well. CCF has sent an emergency response team to work with CCF staff in program areas.
CCF is distributing school supply kits and recreation kits for 10,000 children in Mississippi, replenishing food pantries and repairing facilities. In addition, an emergency team is assessing long-term needs of children.
Already underway, CCF is restocking its local food pantries in Vicksburg with food and non-food items, repairing a flooded pre-school and day care center in Starkville and replacing school books and supplies. CCF plans to bring in volunteers from the local program areas to provide assistance to children and families affected by the remnants of Hurricane Katrina.
"The after effect of Hurricane Katrina is impacting the livelihood of children and families as far north as Jackson and Starkville because of loss of food, unsafe drinking water and their inability to change their own circumstances,” said Chauncy Wright, CCF Area Manager for Mississippi. “Even in these non-coastal areas, families are experiencing high levels of stress and we’re concerned that children might not be receiving adequate attention to cope with their personal losses.”
|This photo is consistent with damage throughout Hurricane Katrina-devastated areas of Mississippi.|
Wright indicated that there is widespread power outage in several of the CCF-affiliated program service areas. Mississippi utility officials are projecting it could take up to two weeks before service is restored in most homes. Residents in these areas are facing multiple problems: loss of all refrigerated food items; inability to replenish food and non-food items because businesses are closed; extremely long lines at the few gas stations that do have electricity; limited communications by phone due to downed phone towers and overloaded cell phone use. Between 10,000 and 20,000 evacuees are being housed in the Jackson Coliseum alone.
Dr. John F. Schultz, president of Christian Children’s Fund said, “We are extremely grateful that there have been no reports of loss of children or families we serve in our local affiliated programs in Mississippi. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families that have been severely impacted by this devastating hurricane. But, we are also concerned about families outside the coastal areas that have been severely impacted by the hurricane.”
|Rebuilding efforts are going to be extensive throughout the Gulf Coast region.|
Hurricane Katrina is estimated to be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, with damages topping $26 billion.
After brushing across Florida last week, Hurricane Katrina strengthened to a category five storm before making landfall Monday, Aug. 29.