Mississippi evacuees find shelter in South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Mississippi evacuees find shelter in South Georgia

September 4, 2005

Norman Park- An Alabama woman hopes to improve conditions for Katrina victims by getting them to South Georgia. Buses were donated to take evacuees from a shelter in Biloxi, MS to safety in South Georgia. With the help of the Antioch Baptist Church, 225 evacuees are resting easier. The Georgia Baptist Conference Center has turned over their property to give evacuees a safe place to stay.

The collection began Friday, this is the end result a community outpouring of generosity to help Katrina's victim's. Thousands of items have been collected for evacuees who arrived at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center at Norman Park around three this morning.

"We lost our house, cars, furniture, everything, but most of all we lost our friend, people that we knew," said Michelle Latham of Biloxi, MS.

"It was so hot, no lights, no food, no water, no ice," said Veronica Burns of Biloxi, MS.

Conditions in Biloxi deteriorated quickly, many didn't want to leave, but knew it was best.

"I had to do something better for my kids, so we could eat, because it was hard, just one meal a day," said Burns.

Thanks to the community and Antioch Baptist Church they're now getting the essentials.

"Now we know we have a bed to sleep in, we have lights, we can use the facilities, the rest rooms and we're getting fed, that the main thing," said Burns.

"Basic necessities, you know, clothing, shoes, toiletries, everything, I mean I didn't have anything," said Richard Buntain of Point Cadet, MS.

As they fulfill their simple needs, they relive what they've been through.

"My head was bumping the ceiling, I was trying to hold on and I was gasping for air really, and then I saw a glimmer of light between the ceiling and the wall and I knew my porch was coming away from, breaking away from my house," said Buntain.

The scars are still fresh.

"I've got scars on my legs and my feet, they're healing now," said Buntain.

Evacuees are happy to have a place with clothing supplies, food, running water, and life's little luxuries.

Biloxi evacuees will stay at the Georgia Baptists Conference Center indefinitely. The facility can hold up to 500 and will likely receive more evacuees later this week.

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