Davis tours damaged areas in West Alabama

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2005

REGION-U.S. Rep. Artur Davis recently visited the Black Belt to conduct town hall meetings. Wednesday he was back again, but not to discuss economic development and teamwork.

While in Eutaw Davis said he had been traveling all over the region to try to get an idea of that the area was up against.

“We have been going all over the Black Belt portion of the district just trying to make an assessment of what damage exists,” Davis said. “We had the Governor with us on our first two stops, but then he had to get back to Montgomery because he is helping coordinate some of the evacuees in Louisiana.”

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Davis said he had seen some damage, but not as much as had been expected.

“Thankfully, there has not been a lot of structural damage and a lot of property damage,” Davis said. “There has been some and we are trying to get people in positions to deal with that.”

Davis said our area had sustained their fair share of damage, but nothing like other states had seen.

“Alabama is fortunate,” Davis said. “We have our inconveniences here, but we should be thankful this storm weakened at the last minute. If this storm had not weakened at the last minute what happened in New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama could have been worse.”

Davis said for those who had incurred damage, the government wanted to be as helpful as they could.

“We certainly want to be of assistance,” Davis said. “We included Greene County in the request we submitted to the Governor yesterday and he signed off on the request. We just want to be helpful. We are thankful and we want to be helpful at the same time.”

Evacuees have flooded the area and Davis said we should welcome them with open arms. Davis said they have been through a very difficult time and need all the help they can get.

“We ought to be opening up resources with as much hospitality as we can for these individuals,” Davis said. “There are about 500,000 people in Louisiana who are homeless. We can’t even imagine what it is like to have no clothes, but the clothes on your back and no ability to contact people. They have no cash, they have no money, no home and the amount of psychological pressure that is around there is amazing.”

Naturally, the issue of price gouging and gasoline shortages was also addressed. Davis said people should not panic.

“Most companies in America that use gasoline buy in advance,” Davis said. “Shortages today do not mean shortages tomorrow, it means shortages two or three months from now.

Davis said a plan was in place to combat shortages, but felt they may need a backup plan as well.

“That is why it is important that the president is drawing down the strategic petroleum reserves,” Davis said. “That will do two things. It will make sure there is petroleum on the market several months from now and it also will counter speculative price rises based on anticipations of shortages.”

Davis said he believed the president and Congress should also be prepared to take some other form of emergency action.

Davis said he planned to end his day in Sumter County to assess Damage in Livingston and York.