Contributing Author: Iris Barnes
JACKSON, Miss.- It’s been nine years since the devastation of hurricane Katrina swept through the state of Mississippi. Strong winds, rolling thunder, inches and inches of rain, hail, the roar of Katrina made sure everyone in the state was listening. While the storm may have been nine years ago, many still remember the day like it was yesterday.
News Mississippi hit the streets to ask you what you remember about that tragic day.
The entire state was shaken by the hurricane, but Mississippi’s coast saw disaster like never before. Within hours, homes were flooded, rooftops ripped off, trees down in streets, power lines blown away. People were hanging on for dear life in their closets and bathrooms just hoping to make it out to see another day.
Many, unable to evacuate, survived by climbing to attics or rooftops, or swimming to higher buildings and trees. The worst property damage from Katrina occurred in coastal Mississippi, where all towns flooded, destroying homes and historic buildings in its path. More than 230 people died in Mississippi, and all counties in Mississippi were declared disaster areas, 49 for full federal assistance.
MEMA Director Robert Latham’s said in a written statement, “Today marks the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that resulted in the death of 232 Mississippians and billions of dollars of damage to businesses, homes, and infrastructure. Since that day, billions of federal, state, and private dollars have been invested in rebuilding our communities. Thousands of volunteers from every state in the nation have donated their time and resources to help Mississippians recover. The friendships forged during the days, weeks, months and even years since Hurricane Katrina connect us to a time in history that lasts a lifetime. The moral debt we owe can never be repaid in full. Even though our recovery continues, the progress can be seen all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast as we rebuild smarter and stronger.
On this anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and as we approach the peak of hurricane season, I challenge every citizen to develop a hurricane plan and talk with your family, friends, and neighbors about your plan. If local officials recommend or order an evacuation, secure your home and leave early, do not hesitate. Have a communication plan and disaster supply kit that you can take with you. Even though government at every level is better prepared to respond when disaster strikes a community, it is the actions that citizens take to protect themselves that will save their lives. There is no reason that we should ever lose a life during a hurricane.”
Governor Phil Bryant said in a written statement, “On this ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina we continue to remember the over 200 Mississippians and 1,800 Americans that lost their lives in August 2005. It forever changed the landscape of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and lives for countless families that were permanently displaced. Since that time, Mississippians have shown incredible strength, resilience, and a caring spirit for their neighbor while building back the Gulf Coast stronger than before Hurricane Katrina. Those unthinkable times in the aftermath have prepared us today to deal with such a catastrophe were it to ever happen again. Today we remember all those affected by Hurricane Katrina and continue to ask God’s blessings upon the people of Mississippi.”