Rita delays valley’s relief effort | AspenTimes.com

Rita delays valley’s relief effort

Aspen Times Staff

Kay Kerrigan enjoys some time with her grandsons, 2-year-old Thomas and 3-month-old Robert, on Thursday while staying in Aspen after Hurricane Katrina hit their hometown of New Orleans. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

Hurricane Rita on Thursday disrupted an effort Carbondale is leading to help a Mississippi town recover from Hurricane Katrina.

A crew from the Carbondale fire department that intended to deliver supplies stopped at Jackson, Miss., because evacuations started farther toward the Gulf Coast, according to Darrell Nelson, who is helping coordinate the department’s effort.The crew reported that water levels were rising in rivers around Pearlington, which Carbondale picked to help with supplies after Katrina devastated the southern Mississippi town. The crew didn’t want to deliver supplies when people were leaving.

A different crew arrived in Pearlington on Wednesday and handed over the keys of an ambulance donated for Hancock County’s use in the Pearlington area. Carbondale Fire Department volunteers Larry White, Ray Sauvey and Dewey Fanti delivered the ambulance after driving 1,600 miles. Volunteers also delivered medical supplies and outdoor survival gear such as cooking stoves.The governments of Aspen, Snowmass Village, Basalt and Pitkin County pledged this week to join Carbondale to help Pearlington in a coordinated effort by the Roaring Fork Valley.

The Carbondale and Rural Fire Department purchased a travel trailer to serve as a mobile command center in Pearlington. Officials planned to drive it down this weekend, but Nelson said that will depend on how Rita affects the area. Although the brunt of the storm is expected to fall to the west, rainfall and the surge of water could affect much of the Gulf Coast.The collection of supplies continues in Carbondale at the Carbondale Red Brick Plaza from 4 to 8 p.m. today, and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Clothing isn’t wanted. A list of supplies is available at Katrina Relief at Carbondalegov.org.