Young Students Share Storm Stories With FEMA's Top Brass - - The News for South Mississippi

Young Students Share Storm Stories With FEMA's Top Brass

As he walked into the library of D'Iberville Elementary School, FEMA Director David Paulison said, "Everybody's quiet back there. You can speak up."

Their initial shyness quickly gave way as the elementary youngsters warmed up to their  important visitor. Paulison asked how their houses fared during the hurricane. He heard the same story over and over about what Katrina did to the kids' homes.

Christopher Moreau told him, "It just lifted it up and cracked it in half."

His neighbor, Summer Schneck said, "I live right by him and my house got destroyed, you can see right through it."

And first grader Matthew Browder explained, "My house got seven foot and it ruined all my toys."

Paulison shared some storm prep tips he hopes the kids will take home to their families. 

"You know to make sure you have food water and supplies for at least three days, flashlights and batteries and all of your medicines you have to take and you can help your parents do that."

The kids had some questions too, like how long Paulison has worked for FEMA and what he does. 

"FEMA did some things they could've done better. So my job is to fix FEMA and come to talk to people like you and find out what you did in the hurricane and how we can come and help," Paulison told them.

He praised the kids' bravery, saying while their young minds might not comprehend what they went through, their resilience helps them endure it. 

"Children telling you how their home was destroyed and how they're living in a trailer, or living with grandmother or someone else, and it's just so matter-of-factly. It's simply amazing."

Paulison says having gone through Hurricane Andrew in South Florida, he saw and heard a lot of the same things these children describe and he assures them FEMA is here for the long haul.

by Marcia Hill

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