Friday, October 07, 2005

Site helps bring legal aid to Katrina victims

Working to facilitate the fair distribution of disaster benefits to New Orleans victims of Hurricane Katrina is the goal of The New Orleans Coalition for Legal Aid and Disaster Relief . The coalition, developed through the efforts of Tulane Law School faculty, students and alumni, seeks to bring together resources from all parts of the legal community. Membership and participation is open to anyone -- especially lawyers and law students -- who want to help with relief efforts.

The coalition's Web site provides forms for those in need of legal help to request it and for lawyers to volunteer their assistance. It also provides information on sources of legal and benefits assistance. Eventually it will include a blog.

Beyond providing legal help, the coalition plans to serve as a watchdog and oversight group to ensure that public and private resources are distributed on an equitable basis. It also will conduct research on topics relevant to the relief effort, such as benefit programs, insurance and bankruptcy.
Grace Lee

Thursday, October 06, 2005

American Diaspora - Katrina

Fleeing Katrina

To map the mass exodus from the Gulf Coast, ePodunk analyzed more than 40,000 messages posted on the Internet by survivors of the storm.
"Family is safe! House is lost! Kids are in Indiana with grandparents."

We looked at Web "safe lists," including those maintained by CNN, craig's list and MSNBC, and recorded data from every message in which the poster included his hometown and a city and state where he had found refuge.

An advantage of compiling data this way, rather than through official reports from agencies such as FEMA, is that these reports include not only people who were in shelters, but also those who were able to leave on their own, before and after the hurricane.

In our analysis, people reported moving to 724 cities in 46 states. Many expressed an intention to move on from their temporary quarters, so the map would likely to change with time.

Our sample, while sizeable, is not a complete picture, nor is it intended to reflect the numbers of people moving to a city. Houston, for example, experienced a much greater influx than Seattle.

However, the map does provide a graphic representation of the nationwide impact of such a huge migration. Indeed, repercussions will be felt beyond national borders. Eventual destinations mentioned in postings included Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala and the UK.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Photos of Damage in Mississippi (LISNews)

The Council of State Historical Records Coordinators has posted Photos of Damage in Mississippi from Hurricane Katrina . These photos were taken September 18-20, 2005, during a visit by a team from the archival community. They include visits to the Biloxi Public Library, City of Bay St. Louis, Hancock County Historical Society, and Waveland. A preliminary report on a trip by Miss. Archivists is also online.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Roundup of Immigrants in Shelter Reveals Rising Tensions (Wall Street Journal)

October 3, 2005; Page B1


LONG BEACH, Miss. -- Last Wednesday, police and the U.S. Marshals Service swept into a Red Cross shelter for hurricane refugees here. They blocked the parking lot and exits and demanded identification from about 60 people who looked Hispanic, including some pulled out of the shower and bathroom, according to witnesses. The shelter residents were told to leave within two days or else they would be deported.

"They asked me where I wanted to go: to Houston, Atlanta or back to Mexico," said Jose Luis Rivera, 39 years old and an undocumented construction worker from Veracruz, Mexico. Mr. Rivera said he had been sleeping in a tent outside the large shelter building since Hurricane Katrina struck just over a month ago, flooding his second-story apartment in nearby Pass Christian and destroying all his belongings, including a pickup truck. "I lost everything I own in the storm. But they said they didn't care. They told us that if we didn't leave they would return on Friday with buses to take us away," he said.

Fearful they would be forced to leave the country, Mr. Rivera and most of the other Hispanic men left the Red Cross shelter the next morning. Local contractors agreed to house workers they are hiring for cleanup work and other jobs in tents at worksites. Mr. Rivera set up his tent at a Baptist church that told him it had room for Hispanics from the shelter. ( MORE...)