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Amid ‘devastation,’ officials just ‘doing everything we can’

“Devastation” was the word from Lawrence County officialscontacted Wednesday, along with promises that they are doingeverything possible to free those still stranded by HurricaneKatrina’s onslaught.

Lawrence County Civil Defense Director Robert Patterson said heknew dozens, perhaps hundreds, of county residents were stillstranded in their homes because of downed trees and powerlines.

“We’re doing everything we can,” he said. “All I can ask is thatpeople know that and to please be patient. We’re doing all we can.We’re devastated. We have trees down everywhere. No lights. Wedon’t know when we’ll get power.”

District Three Supervisor Calvin Rutland said it may be weeksbefore the county gets power or phones. His road crews are workingas quickly as possible to at least clear one lane of traffic oncounty roads to free those stranded at their homes, he said.

Patterson said civil defense has established distribution pointsin Monticello, New Hebron and Silver Creek to pass out water andice as it becomes available.

Ice is being delivered from St. Louis, Mo., and Georgia, hesaid.

“They have to go pick it up and truck it back. It takes time,”Patterson said.

Distribution points have been set up at Monticello at the oldKellwood Building, in New Hebron at New Hebron Attendance Centerand in Silver Creek at city hall.

Patterson urged residents use patience and understanding at thedistribution points while describing why Kellwood was chosen as alocation.

“We’re having to put (ice) behind fences,” he said. “We’ve beenhaving riots over here. Nothing serious, just raising Hell.”

There have no injuries related to the riots, Patterson said.