Local Cleanup Taking Weeks, Months

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Three weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit Meridian, the chainsaws are still running fast and furiously. The North Carolina Baptist Men, a group helping Meridianites who can't help themselves clean up debris, stay busy.

"We have healthy people that are willing to share what they can do with others," said Edna Hartley, a member of the group.

It's going to take a lot of people doing what they can do over the next several weeks to get the work that has to be done, done.

As debris is cleaned from yards and put on the side of the roads, a private company has been contracted to pick it up. At this point, that company has picked up a little more than 2,800 tons of the estimated 186,000 tons believed to be on the ground, about 15 percent of the estimated total.

"Right now there some areas that are so heavily hit, that it's taking them several days just to get a block or two," said Monte Jackson, director of Meridian Public Works.

But Jackson says that process should speed up and more progress should be seen on the streets as those hardest hit areas have their cleanups complete.

"Hopefully, he can see places that he needs to go and bring people in to pick it up faster if he needs to," Jackson said.

The cleanup contract says 186,000 tons must be picked up within 30 days. Jackson says he believes the company is on schedule right now.