FEMA Update: Cell Service, Shelters, Damage Report


Press Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
500 C Street, S.W.
Washington, DC  20472
Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      
Friday, September 2, 2005, 9:00 p.m.
Jackson, Miss., -- Officials continue to urge Mississippi Gulf Coast evacuees not to attempt to return home.  Evacuees or residents attempting to get to the Gulf Coast could be impeding rescue missions, which are still ongoing.    Search and rescue teams, other support services and commodities from other states have joined in the effort to assist federal, state and local authorities.
Interstate 1-55 is open, and generally, highways north of and including Interstate 20 are open.  Interstate I-10 is closed to the public for the foreseeable future.  Highway information is updated regularly by calling 601-359-7017. 
Restoration of Cellular Services
Cellular South is working to restore cell service to Hancock County by placing a temporary tower in the Wal-Mart parking lot at Bay St. Louis. Other cell companies are working to provide “cellular on wheels” (COWs) to the affected area.
Currently, there are 99 American Red Cross shelters open.  The current total population registered population is 12,958, with the total capacity of opened shelters at 32,696.  The need to open additional shelters is anticipated.  Local governments and other community organizations are asked to consider opening shelters, and local businesses are urged to donate supplies to support those additional shelters in their communities.
Search and Rescue
Currently a total of 22 teams are engaged in search and rescue operations. US Coast Guard and local rescue teams have rescued thousands of individuals.
MS National Guard personnel have been increased to about 3000. MP’s are assisting in coastal counties
with law enforcement. 1600 troops and 25 helicopters were deployed today with plans to increase military
presence to 5000 over the next 5 days. Guard personnel are active in a broad range of operations in affected areas, such as search and rescue, medical evacuations, law enforcement, transportation of supplies, water and ice distribution, and fire fighting.
Water and Ice Distribution Points
National Guard troops will distribute water and ice in the following locations:
County                        Location                                                 City
Adams                        Walmart Super Center                             Natchez
Amite                          Amite County Court House                      Liberty
Attala                          Attala County Court House                      Kosciusko
Covington                    Former Piggly Wiggly Super Market          Collins
Forrest                        Lynn Cartlidge Multi-Purpose Bldg.           Hattiesburg
Franklin                       Franklin County Fairgrounds                     Bude                                         
George                        National Guard 786 Trans. Co.                  Lucedale
Hancock                      Hancock County Livestock Arena              Kiln
Harrison                       County Farm                                           Gulfport
Hinds                           Mississippi State Fairgrounds                   Jackson
Jackson                       Jackson County Fairgrounds                     Pascagoula
Jasper                          John R. Sims Livestock Facility                Bay Springs
Jefferson                      Vo-Tech Center                                        Fayette  
Jefferson Davis*            Prentiss High School                                Prentiss                          
Jones                          Magnolia Center                                       Laurel
Kemper                       Southern Circuits                                      DeKalb
Lawrence                     Super Value Parking Lot                           Monticello
Leake                          Carthage Coliseum                                   Carthage
D Lincoln                     Brookhaven Recreation Dept.                     Brookhaven
D Lowndes                   Columbus Waverly Square                        Columbus
Madison                       Madison County Road Dept.                     Canton
Marion                         Columbia Expo Center                              Columbia
Neshoba                      Neshoba County Coliseum                        Philadelphia
Noxubee                      Noxubee County Arena                             Macon
Newton                        Civic Center/Show Barn                             Newton
Perry                           Perry Central High School                          Beaumont
Pike                            Pike County Fair Grounds                          McComb
Rankin                         Rankin County Multi-Purpose Building        Brandon
Scott                           Forrest-Scott County Coliseum                  Forrest
Simpson                      South Fork Fish House                             Magee   
Smith                          Smith Agriculture Complex                        Raleigh
Stone                          Stone County Fair Ground                         Wiggins
Tallahatchie                  Tallahatchie County Fairgrounds                Charleston
Tate                             Northwest Arena                                       Senatobia
Walthall                       Southwest Event Center                             Tylertown
Wayne                         Mississippi National Guard                         Waynesboro
Winston                       Winston County Coliseum                          Louisville
Yazoo                          National Guard Armory                               Yazoo City
*New distribution sites
Power Outages 
Current reports indicate a total of 640,742 customers without power. Reports from power companies are as follows:
·        Entergy reported 137,705 meters without service
·        Mississippi Power reported 159,570 meters without service
·        Electrical Power Associations of Mississippi reported 323,955 meters without service
·        Tennessee Valley Authority reported 19,512 meters without service
The Mississippi Department of Health requested Federal Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, which have arrived on the coast and have opened fully self-contained hospitals to assist with medical care.  The Mississippi Department of Health is issuing boil water notices for several communities and cities, which can be found at the department’s website at www.msdh.state.ms.us.  Information for medical professionals who want to volunteer, including physicians, nurses and emergency medical technicians, can also be found at the Department of Health’s website.   
All members of the Mississippi State Guard (not the National Guard) who are not deployed please call the Emergency Operations Center at Joint Force Headquarters, Mississippi, at 601-313-6518 and ask for Captain Glover or Colonel Hutson.
Damage Assessments
Destroyed- 176
Major Damage 2,871
Minimal Damage- 8, 038
Destroyed- 28
Major Damage- 61
Minimal Damage- 249
Coroner confirmed deaths - 161
MS Secretary of State, Eric Clark reminds people to be cautious about giving to charitable organizations that are unfamiliar.  If you are not sure if a company is legitimate, please call 601-359-6367.