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Gulf Coast Communities Still Need Help from Santa Cruz

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Local resident Curtis Reliford, a community organizer and founder of "Brothers Teaching Brothers," will be returning to the Gulf Coast region for a second trip to supply much-needed supplies. (See also: "Thank You Santa Cruz!" from Shreveport, Bogalousa and New Orleans, Louisiana). I have begun traveling through the region in advance to see what supplies are needed where. The past few days we have been traveling through Texas to find shelters, mostly serving Hurrican Rita survivors.

Yesterday, we stopped in Winnie, where a community center has been working with the Red Cross to serve the community and displaced Katrina survivors. While the shelter should be closing soon, many of the remaining survivors still do not know where their family is and have nohwere to go.

Today we traveled further East and saw more severe destruction. In Nederland we found Triumph Church, which had its sign blown over but is serving as a major relief center for the surroundign area. We met with Daemon Scapin, the head pastor, who told us that they have been feeding thousands of people each day. The will be shifting their strategy from providing first-response aid (food, water, and medicine) to providing and transporting supplies that will assist residents in cleaning up their homes.

Futher north on I-69, outside of Beaumont, we found hundreds of cars parked at the Church of the Rock where more residents were registering for aid and recieving meals. We met with Robert Benlien, a pastor there who is coordinating supplies. When asked what supplies they need, he replied, "everything." Apparantly, all they have recieved from FEMA is napkins and paper towels. [ Read the full report which was posted from the internet station set up at Church of the Rock. ]

URGENT Relief Needed for Native American Communities in Louisiana

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The Native American tribes of the Houma, Pointe-au-Chien, and Biloxi Chitimacha of southern Louisiana have faced a monumental struggle in channeling relief efforts to their tribal members devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For many communities, government aid has been virtually absent and supplies are only coming in from grassroots relief efforts.

Though hope and humor persist, the challenge continues to grow. The more populous indian communities in Terrebonne Parish such as Dulac, DuLarge, Grand Caillou, Montegut, Pointe-au-Chien and Isle de Jean Charles escaped extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina but became victims to the storm surge of Hurricane Rita. Another 4000 people were forced from their homes by eight feet of flood waters and a four inch layer of mud.

The rising tides from Hurricane Rita also breeched recently repaired levees in Plaquemines, St. Bernard and lower Jefferson Parishes, re-flooding communities that were beginning to dry out from the 150 mph winds and storm surge caused by Hurricane Katrina. There is concern, that without immediate assistance in the form of elder care, cleaning, and rebuilding of damaged homes, community members may move away from the area fragmenting traditions and culture. [ Read more about needed Supplies, Volunteer Work Teams and Long Term Financial Assistance ]

see also: Hurricane Relief - List of Types of Donations Most Needed (as of 13 OCT 2005)
 

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