Saturday, October 01, 2005

Katrina Report Part Six: In the K Mart Parking Lot

You can click on any of these blog photos to see them in a larger format.

The heavily damaged K Mart stood closed and dark. Out front of our site we could see a perpetual long line of Katrina victims, most with borrowed K Mart shopping carts, waiting to enter our store for food and supplies. The heat and humidity were intense. We watched for those who needed water or a place to sit down. To the right of the store, we handed out tents, blankets, pillows and sleeping bags. That is, we handed them out when we had them. There was a limited supply, and some always stood in a long line only to be disappointed. As you can see in the photo, the line extends as far as we could see.

Notice the trees. They are battered and mostly bare. Few leaves uncanny sight in the summer heat. Every sign in Waveland is torn and broken, every business but one was closed, we saw one home in a habitable condition. But the line of people come from Waveland, Pas Christian, Picayune, Bay St. Louis, and other towns. The enormity of the devastation is hard to grasp.

The K-Mart parking lot became "Camp Katrina," home to about 40 Waveland people living in nylon tents. Additionally there was a medical tent, our Convoy of Hope store and restaurant, a large tent to house the volunteers, an Aging Services tent, and several others. Just to the side of our disbursement "store" was a shattered McDonald's and a large pile of debris. You can see in the picture that a nylon tent is located behind the restaurant. To the rear of our tent was the vacant lot full of garbage. Trash and debris were everywhere, and the stench of mold rose from the parking lot when it got wet (as it did when I poured water over my hot feet one afternoon).

Just next door to the store stood "The Waveland Cafe." A board outside held messages, pictures of missing loved ones, phone numbers, and other information.

Inside, people from many denominations cooked and served food to over 5,000 people each day.

Here, some weary people share lunch and conversation.

Behind The Waveland Store and The Waveland Cafe, a flurry of activity took place--semis arrived and forklifts offloaded the trucks and moved supplies to the makeshift warehouse tent. Then the supplies were moved, as we needed them, to the store. Here, Ken and I stand beside the bright Convoy of Hope simi trailer. It's our last night in Waveland, and we have mixed feelings as we head towards our vehicle and "home" to First Assembly in Gulfport for the last night.

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