Tuesday, September 27

Calcasieu officials working on re-entry plan

When area officials consider re-entry into Calacasieu Parish, it’s as much about how as when.

Learning some of the lessons from Jefferson Parish's handling of Hurricane Katrina evacuees, Calcasieu mayors and parish officials went to work on a plan to bring residents back into their communities.

"There was a lot of chaos" in Jefferson Parish, said Calcasieu Parish spokesman Tom Hoefer. He said that many people who went into Jefferson to check on their property got stuck there because they either didn't have fuel to get out or had other vehicle issues. "They had to be evacuated again."

Issues of sanitation, logistics and traffic gridlock plagued Jefferson residents. That parish kept its residents out for a week before allowing some back in to check on their property.

In Calcasieu, "the enormity of the situation is incredible," said Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach. "Every level of service is at risk." Roach said there is no timeline yet for residents to return, but such plans will be structured for limited re-entry. "We can’t support everyone here."

Among the main issues were water and sewage. Roach said he has generators online to support 75 percent of the systems.

Broken water lines -- both mains and ones into homes -- will make it difficult to maintain pressure, Roach said. The mayor also said that services such as garbage collection are also affected by the lack of fuel.

Because of Hurricane Katrina earlier this month, resources normally available for disaster situations are already stretched to the hilt, he said.

Dennis Spears
Night Editor

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have independent water,sewer, generator power, a/c and food. Prepared and experienced at roughing it. I want in to preserve property from the elements. Can live without amenities and don't take them for granted!! Patience gone from waiting with no end date and suspect I am only one of multithousands who feel the blockade is the ultimate insult and can promise we won't be heeding future evacuations. Is this really the attitude the city wants to foster because that is what they are doing!! Give us a date now or move over, we are coming home enmasse.