Agencies working to get relief news to east Biloxi residents

Vietnamese churches and business leaders are being asked this weekend to help distribute information about the Disaster Recovery Centers operating in Biloxi and in Ocean Springs.

“It’s been quite difficult to find a way to get information to those in east Biloxi because of the total devastation,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said this afternoon. “There’s no telephone, no TV, no mailboxes or forwarding addresses, and the language issue complicates matters in trying to get the word to Vietnamese residents.”

FEMA officials, Holloway said, are planning to funnel information through Vietnamese churches and businesses, which the city also attempted to do today by distributing a newsletter that had been translated by Vietnamese volunteers.

The city on Friday asked the U.S. Postal Service to expedite delivery of an English-language version of a disaster recovery newsletter, which is supposed to be delivered to all city residents.

Said Holloway: “We want everyone — Vietnamese, African-Americans, all ethnic groups and all residents in general – to know that recovery assistance is available in the form of temporary housing and financial assistance.

“Residents should call 1-800-621-FEMA to register for aid. They can also catch a free ride on the FEMA shuttles – Coast Transit buses – that run from Oak Street to downtown, where there is a bus that can take them directly to the Disaster Recovery Center at the Donal Snyder Center on Pass Road.”

News and notes

Boil water: Residents south of the Bay of Biloxi are reminded that a boil-water notice remains in effect until further notice. The boil-water notice for those residents north of the bay was lifted Friday.

City council: The Biloxi City Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Open for business: Harrison County courthouses in Biloxi and Gulfport are scheduled to open Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Red Cross line: To apply for financial aid from the American Red Cross, residents should call 1-800-975-7585. Red Cross officials report receiving as many as 40,000 calls a day, so callers may experience a busy signal on their initial calls.

Quotable I: Humor found its way into the conversations Friday when Mayor A.J. Holloway met with a group of U.S. Senators. Said Holloway in his impromptu remarks to the gathering of senators: “We haven’t had this much federal power in Biloxi since the Kefhauver hearings,” a quip that drew laughter from the D.C. delegation.

Quotable II: Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) tried to gauge the devastation for Holloway. “I’ve been through three wars and five wives,” Warner told the mayor, “but I’ve never seen anything as bad as this.”