The Laotian American community in Mobile Alabama is rather small compare to the Laotian American community in Louisiana that affected by the Hurricane Katrina that hit the Gulf Coast region in the past days. There were about twelve families that still have not returned home due to their houses are still no electricity and running water. The Lao Temple “Wat Lao Phoutthavihan” of Irvington, Alabama is the center of ritual and a common ground for these people to come to cherish and practice the Buddhist belief is also sustained heavy damage from this hurricane, approximately about $10,000 worth of damage.
Through a conversation with VOA, Mrs. Somsavang Sonebourom, one of the Hurricane Katrina survivors in Mobile Alabama explained about how she and her family survived this catastrophe. She said “Every year during the hurricane season, our family always evacuates to another safer area and this year we did the same, that’s a reason we are still alive. Due to the strong impact of Hurricane Katrina, our house was flooded. We lost pretty much every thing in the house, all household items which add up to $30,000 worth of damage easily”, she concluded our interview.
Meanwhile, Mr. Somboun Norvang, president of the Laotian American Community of Mobile, Alabama has helped three families to stay in his house. He said, “Many house are still out of electricity and the three Laotian families that are with us now, will be stay with us for a quite sometimes, until they can be back on their own.”
Along with the helps of FEMA(Federal Emergency Management Administration), Red Cross and many local organizations, there are also the Laotian communities and the Lao Temples of Elgin, and Rockford of Illinois and the Laotian American National Alliance(LANA) organization are putting together their efforts to collect money, foods and clothing to these people.
For any question please contact
Wat Lao Phoutthavihan
Achan: Bounmay Ngannaviro
Mr. Somboun Norvang, president of
Laotian American Association of Mobile, AL
Photo by: Phet Haverkos
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For additional photos, please go to www.phet.org