Recovery Agencies Conduct Disaster Needs Assessment

BILOXI (WLOX) -- Emeilia Shearer thought her house stood up well to the effects of hurricane Katrina and the one tree that it left on her roof.

"After three to six months, my roof fell down," says Shearer. "And little by little the roof in my living room sank down. Then just six months ago, the roof in my toilet, boom, it went down all of a sudden."

And during all that time this 85-year-old had struggled to keep what's left of her roof over her head.

"I have damage but did not claim for it because it makes your insurance go higher. So I paid for it myself."

Red Cross Client Recovery Supervisor Genia Crane says Shearer is not alone in her struggle to save her home.

"They get by," says Crane. "That's what Mississippi Gulf Coast people do, they just kind of get by and keep going and not realize that we're out here and we need to help."

That's why the Red Cross has teamed up with the Harrison County Long Term Recovery Coalition and other relief organizations to find out how many other Emeilia Shearer's are still out their and still in need of assistance.

"We don't think we've reached every one," says Crane. "Every day I get calls from people who haven't gotten help from anywhere, so this is part of trying to determine what all unmet needs are still left in Harrison County."

Crane says now is the time to find everyone who's fallen through the cracks.

"We can't hook up the volunteers if we don't know who's out there. Right now we have lots of volunteers, so we want to get to as many people at possible."

And all that's needed is for residents to answer their call.

"I answered all the questions," says Shearer. "I hope they'll help me."

If you missed Wednesday's Disaster Needs Assessment Survey, you can contact the Red Cross, the Long Term Recovery Coalition, or their partners at International Relief and Development. The Pass Road to the Future organization also has more information.