09/07/05 — Mississippi ignored? Stories are heartbreaking but state’s suffering overshadowed

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Mississippi ignored? Stories are heartbreaking but state’s suffering overshadowed

That is the refrain that seems to be resonating throughout that state as the vast majority of the attention and money seems to be heading to New Orleans and Louisiana.

There is no question that the damage to the city of New Orleans was severe. There are thousands of people who have no homes to go back to and even more who do not have the resources to recover from this natural disaster.

The death toll is estimated to be in the thousands. Questions remain, too, about not only the federal aid that state officials say was slow in coming, but also the procedures state officials used to prepare the residents in the area, most of whom were poor and without resources to rely on, to handle the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina.

And those questions will be examined and re-examined for years after the cleanup is complete.

The numbers are not quite as dramatic in Mississippi, but there are families whose lives were destroyed by floodwater, too. They also have no homes to return to and no one to count on as they try to battle back. They seem to be counting on each other, while news crews talk about the devastation and resources needed in Louisiana.

The stories out of both states are heartbreaking. These people will need years to get back to even a semblance of a normal life. And they all need the support and help from not only the federal government, but from the many Americans who are looking for some way to let the victims know they care.

Send as much aid as possible to Louisiana. There is a great need there, and we as a country need to step up and take care of our own.

But there is work to be done in Mississippi, too, and it is time to make sure those residents get the help they need.

No one should feel they are being ignored, even if they are not quite as vocal in their disapproval of how the emergency is being handled.

Published in Editorials on September 7, 2005 9:43 AM