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Hurricane Katrina: Can CFA Members Help?

The world was stunned by the devastation wrought on Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama by Hurricane Katrina. The images, as horrifying as they were, couldn’t convey how complete the destruction was. Hurricane Rita then extended the problems to the west, including Texas. The extent of the damage defies description and understanding.

What we do understand is that the area will be rebuilt. Perhaps not every block and structure as it was, but structures and homes to shelter the commerce, history, and people who call the area home will be replaced, as they should be.

Nature, or other forces, will undoubtedly strike the area again. Planning should consider the forces that need to be resisted so when the rebuilding is done, the result will be able to sustain the area through future events. The lowest lying areas should be raised or returned to marshland and if structures are built, they should be built higher and more durable. A lot of our tax dollars will be spent restoring the Gulf Coast to its prehurricane splendor but let’s not let the need perpetuate substandard solutions.

Disasters, such as the hurricanes, evoke the sympathy and most of us ask, “how can we help?” The CFA and its members are in a position to provide a significant contribution to this effort, one that will benefit both the area and our industry. We recently queried our members to see who would like to help and in what way. Suggestions included setting up a satellite operation in the area to build above grade homes (for a profit), providing personnel to assist in the clean-up and reconstruction, purchase of equipment from contractors who no longer have a business but still have debt on the equipment, and contributing money.

The results thus far indicate many are willing to set up a remote or satellite operation in the area to build homes. A lot of “ifs” need to be resolved before such an effort can take place but CFA staff will make certain this offer of assistance is channeled to the right people. It could be several months before many of the residents can return but that time will be needed to coordinate the reconstruction effort.

If you did not receive this initial survey of interest and want to assist, make sure you contact the CFA so that we can include you in our response. If you have connections that can expedite our efforts, communicate them to our staff. We will be working with other concrete and relief organizations to make every effort to see that our offer receives consideration. Let’s turn this catastrophe into a positive experience for all.

Ed Sauter, Executive Director, CFA

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us