Examiner News Service/NCM
Among the thousands of people stranded in New Orleans following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina were hundreds of Vietnamese people who were also desperately seeking help in a small town outside of New Orleans called Versailles, according to Saigon Television Broadcasting Network. Versailles has been the home of more than 10,000 Vietnamese Americans since the end of the Vietnam War.
Many of the people who were stranded in the flooded Versailles found themselves at Lavang Vietnamese Church. Dozens were senior citizens who didn’t leave the area before the hurricane struck because either they had no family to help them or because they were hoping to ride out the storm.
For at least three days, without electricity and telephone contacts, the health of the Vietnamese community in Versailles was virtually unknown. Father Vien The Nguyen of Lavang church managed to contact Saigon Broadasting Television Network to let them know that when the storm hit, the community fled to the church for shelter and there they remained.
The town of Versailles was flooded, some places the water rose to four meters, according to Father Nguyen. Father Nguyen had decided to stay with those who took shelter in his church. The church was flooded as well but they had taken shelter upstairs. The priest said that he didn’t know if any Vietnamese had died in Versailles; he was unable to leave the church to find out due to the flood.
Father Nguyen told SBTN that everyone in his church was listening to the news on the radio and had heard of the orders to evacuate. Since then they had been trying to contact the police for help and had been told that help would come.
He also noted that he and his flock were still waiting for rescue but among those who were taking shelter at his church, many were beginning to show signs of failing health. Most didn’t have their medications with them, and many remained in shock.
On another note, the World Journal reported that Houston’s Chinese immigrant organizations said about 300 Chinese immigrant families live in New Orleans. After motel costs skyrocketed after the hurricane, the Chinese Immigrant Service Center in Houston arranged for host families for Chinese immigrants escaping from the hurricane.