Hurricane photo diary

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)

Text of Hurricane photo diary

  • 2005 HurricanesPHOTO DIARY:Picking Up the Pieces

  • Hurricane Katrina battered cane farms just outside of New Orleans. Heavy winds blew over cane stalks, making the crop difficult to harvest and lowering the canes sugar content.

  • But sugar farmers knew that it could have been a lot worse. They felt fortunate that Katrinas wrath was not more severe, until

  • they learned what happened to the states most important sugar refinery.

  • Domino Sugars refinery in Chalmette was crippled for four months.It refines 50-55% of Louisianas sugarcane crop and produces nearly 19% of Americas refined cane sugar.

  • Water levels rose to 9 feet in the rear of the plant. Flood waters destroyed the plants two electricity-generating substations. Electrical equipment on the refinerys first floor was demolished.

  • Nearly 8 million pounds of refined sugar in the warehouse was flooded, creating a gooey mess about two-feet deep.

  • The refinery became a staging ground for rescue operations.

  • 215 of the refinerys 295 employees were left homeless, and many resided in mobile homes at the refinerya community nicknamed Chateau Domino.

  • Their lives changed forever, the men and women of Chateau Domino turned their attention to repairing homes and the refinery.

  • Many said the Chalmette refinery would never operate again. They were wrong. The refinery reopened its doors on Dec. 12.

  • Weeks after Katrina, Hurricane Rita came calling, leaving more than 30,000 acres of Louisiana sugarcane under salt water. Thats enough water to flood 70% of Washington, DC.

  • Murky lakes replaced cane fields throughout the southern part of the state.

  • Only after days of draining and pumping did the tips of eight-foot-tall cane reappear. This field was still under 5 to 6 feet of salt water.

  • When the water finally receded, debris was left behind. This farmers home was swept off of its foundation and dropped in the middle of his cane field 200 yards away.

  • Another farmer was even more surprised to find shrimp boats from the Gulf on his land.

  • Debris made harvest, which had to be delayed more than two weeks, more difficult and much more expensive.

  • Explosive tanks that littered the fieldsmany buried by sludgealsomade harvest more dangerous.

  • Young cane in recently planted fields died and had to be replanted. Because planting accounts for roughly 30% of a farmers operating costs, flooded fields will be money losers for years to come.

  • 131,000 tons of Louisiana sugar was lost during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.Damage to the Louisiana cane industry is expected to total $128 million.

  • The industry and the communities it supports must be rebuilt. Louisiana will need a stable U.S. sugar policy.

  • Unfortunately, Mother Nature wasnt done. Hurricane Wilma parked over the sugar-growing region of Florida, pounding the area with 100 mph winds for 5 hours.

  • Every sugar field in the state was hit, and 100% of Floridas sugar crop was flattened and damaged.

  • Sugar mills in the state werent spared either.

  • Farm equipment was lost

  • rail cars used to transport sugar were toppled

  • and sugar storage sheds were compromised.

  • Total sugar production loss is estimated at 531,000 tons, and damage to Floridas sugar industry will exceed $500 million.

  • Like their colleagues in Louisiana, Floridas sugar producers need sugar policy stability.

  • Congress should extend Americas no-cost sugar policy.It has a proven track record and will be key to Louisiana and Florida rebuilding efforts.