Southern California surfers Bill Sharp and Matt George of Surfzone Relief Operations have joined the rescue and relief work in the disaster stricken city of New Orleans. Supporting an effort spearheaded by water safety expert Shawn Alladio and Maverick’s water photographer Frank Quirarte, Sharp and George have helped procur over a dozen personal water craft to be used in search and rescue efforts, delivering them to the flood ravaged city via truck convoy from Houston.
As of September 6 the foursome had been assigned to California Task Force 3, where they are to assisit in the daunting task of assessing the remaining survivors of Hurricane Katrina, which ripped through the Gulf Coast on August 29.
“No matter how bad the media made this look, it’s worse,” reported Sharp on Sunday, September 4 from SAR headquarters in New Orleans, who in January of this year founded Surfzone Relief Operations in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Southeast Asia. “It’s just total chaos. Except this is the United States.”
On Monday, September 5, the group was deployed into the city to help search for survivors.
“Driving around an abandoned American city is so eerie,’ reported George. “We’re crusing around on these empty freeways, whose exit ramps have now become perfect boat ramps. But the water is so filthy. And there’s guns everywhere; everyone has guns.”
As of Tuesday, September 6, the city was considered evacuated and the flood waters that innundated the coastal city when storm swollen Lake Pontchartrain burst through its protective levees had begun to be pumped out. An estimated 10,000 citizens remain in flooded homes, however, some trapped, some by choice. More details on Sharp, George, Alladio and Quirarte’s efforts as the clean-up and relief work continues.