An update from Pastor Nelson…

The following was another phone conversation sent to me by one of Pastor Toby Nelson’s friends…

“I and other relief workers caravanned into New Orleans in 16 minivans, snaking through a circuitous route into the heart of the city. All along the highway, thousands lined the streets, dazed. Everywhere our caravan stopped, people knocked at the windows pleading for water and for help. Ultimately, it was necessary for us to make a potty break. No facilities anywhere to be found. We all, men and women alike, simply, humanly, lined up on opposite sides of the vehicles out in the open.

Entering the city, I cannot begin to describe the devastation. The word “catastrophic” is minuscule. The city is gone. When I was in New York after 9/11, I saw 35 city blocks destroyed. Here, there is destruction in every direction. Some buildings remain defiantly erect. From here I can see the Hyatt Hotel with hundreds of its window blown out. But the smaller buildings and the residences are gone or underwater. The Superdome is a mass of suffering humanity. Tens of thousands have been inside since Sunday. Since Monday morning, there is no power and the building is very dark except for the sunlight which comes through one hole in the roof, and that only during the day.

There is no air conditioning in the August heat and humidity. No ventilation to speak of. The regular toilet system was over-whelmed shortly after the power went out on Monday. No water to flush with. Now, with flooding, no place for sewage to be drained away. Without being graphic in detail, envision thousands of people with no place to go to the bathroom except in their immediate location.

Medical personnel are doing all they can. Stress on the refugees and relief workers are extracting a terrible toll. The aged and infirm are desperate, their minds and bodies in debilitating shock. Officials are working frantically to move the people from the oppressive surroundings, but move them to where? Outside into the sun? Outside to block the only arteries for relief vehicles bringing in food, water, medicine? One ranking nurse told me 800 busses were to arrive this morning (Wednesday) to begin the task of evacuation. By dusk just a few had arrived.”

Continued prayers for the many who are experiencing a great deal of loss.


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