While most eyes are watching Hurricane Rita, hundreds of Iowans are still on-duty in Mississippi, helping residents recover from Hurricane Katrina. Among the Iowa National Guard members and Red Cross volunteers, Davenport city administrator Craig Malin and more than a dozen other Davenport city workers are in Bay Saint Louis.
Malin says the primary task is restoring the city’s water and sewer systems.
He says they’re making good headway and the Iowans have been very well received, adding, “It’s really inspiring to be there. People have a sense of optimism.”
The Davenport crew took seven city vehicles, all towing trailers full of equipment, to the hurricane-devastated city of eight-thousand. Malin says the people there have lost everything, their homes, and many have just moved on. Only about nine of the original 38 Bay Saint Louis public works employees are able to make it in to work so when the Davenport team arrived, it doubled the size of the public works department.
Malin says the damage in Mississippi is heart-wrenching. It’s hard to convey the scale and the detail of the destruction which reaches for hundreds of square miles. The Davenport workers are expected to come home September 29th.