Biloxi, MS -- We are here in Biloxi Mississippi, almost ground zero for Hurricane Katrina.
WLOX is our sister station. WALB and WLOX are both owned by the same company. So our station sent our news director, a cameraman, a satellite truck operator, and me to Biloxi to help out.
WLOX was hard hit by Katrina. This station sits just a bock and a half from the ocean where the hurricane came in. There is widespread destruction.
A block from here, on Highway 90, Beach Road, there’s nothing left. The casinos are gone, the buildings are gone, there’s nothing but debris. Even the highway is gone.
One of the television station’s towers has collapsed. The building has suffered significant damage, as part of the roof is gone, there is flooding in the building. But the station has been on the air around the clock because of help for our corporate office. We have generators here, we have food and water brought in, and workers are repairing the roof, as more rain is expected.
This is the main TV station for Biloxi, the only one in the city, proper, and people are relying on this station, much as many South Georgians relied on WALB during the flood of 1994.
It is a dire situation here in the Biloxi – Gulfport area. There is no electricity, no water, and no ice. There are people walking around with nowhere to go, and no way to get anywhere because there’s no gas. Emergency relief supplies just arrived about 10:00 AM, and they've begun distributing them.
For those who went through Georgia’s flood of 1994, as bad as that was, it almost pales in comparison to the devastation here. We were fortunate to receive relief almost instantly, but that hasn’t been the case here. It’s been almost four days since the storm hit, and the first three truck loads of supplies just arrived this morning.
The situation is borderline violent, because desperate people do desperate things. Water is given out under heavy police guard, protected by officers with M-16 rifles and shotguns.
So it’s a very dire situation, and for South Georgians who want to help, contact the Red Cross at 229-436-4845, to try to send some relief to this area.
We don’t know how long the WALB crew will remain in Biloxi, but it will be as long as We’re needed.