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Flood Survivors Share Similar Story: Glad to be Alive

Thousands of people are still being evacuated from the flooded downtown area of New Orleans. Many are brought to staging areas that look like refugee camps in dryer parts of the city. There they wait until they can be bused to shelters. VOA’s Brian Padden visited one staging area in the city.

The hundreds of people in this emergency camp just outside the flood zone in New Orleans are now safe.

Ron Humble was rescued by a helicopter from his apartment building. ”And we were on the second and third floor, and once the water kept rising, we tried to get out.”

While they survived, they are exhausted and frustrated.

Will Mitchell escaped with his family of seven. “It was rough, actually. It was very crowded and unorganized,” said Mr. Mitchell. “I would think for a city to have hurricanes as frequently as it does, there would be a contingency plan in place or at least some organized set of rules that should be followed.

Bartender Gary Geogaggan says he has had enough of New Orleans. “My game plan is to eventually get out of here and go somewhere safer. And I really don’t care for this town,” he added.

Naomi Hoffman is also looking forward to getting out of the city. “I don’t know where they are going to bring us to but wherever it is, it will be better than where we came from. It was real bad, not for humans.”

The Louisiana State Police officer in charge here, Lt. Allen Carpenter says they are moving people out as soon as possible. “I couldn’t give you a number. More keep coming in. Were going to keep bringing buses in until everybody is gone.”

“Sir, you must have someone in Baton Rouge to pick you up,” says volunteer Christopher Smith. His bus can only take people who have relatives in the nearby city of Baton Rouge.

“There are not enough shelters to evacuate the number of people that we have to evacuate,” he says.

Today most here are happy just be alive. Where they will go and what they will do are questions for tomorrow.