Refugees Call Jonesboro Home - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR--Tiffany Blankenship

Refugees Call Jonesboro Home

September 1, 2005--Posted at 8:00 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-- The tragedy of Katrina has brought many refugees to Jonesboro.

They say the cleanup should take three months, but most say the Gulf Coast will never be the same.

Some plan on becoming residents of Region Eight, starting over.

Steve Delbridge and his family feel blessed to have escaped the horror of Hurricane Katrina, but they can't stop thinking about the friends they left behind.

"I feel like we lost everything, but those people down there are hurting bad," Delbridge says.

The tragedy in their homeplace seems surreal as they watch the visions through a television screen...just to see people in agony...to hear about the things that were lost...it's a reality that is simply heartbreaking.

"We know our church is gone. I'm sorry. I don't know what the people are going to do," Delbridge says.

Steve is clinging onto his family as he returns home to Arkansas, a place he never plans on leaving again.

He says the hurricane took the life he left behind. He has nothing to return to.

"That's why I'm coming back here because there's no economy left," Delbridge says.

Steve shares Jonesboro with dozens of refugees, too scrambled to count.

It seems as though the city will handle their new found residents well.

"We're handling the problems now, and everything seems to be going smooth. We're set, we're on goal and I think we're ready to handle whatever comes our way," Jonesboro Mayor Doug Formon says.

Mayor Formon says it is too early to tell if Jonesboro will be able to handle the population increase.

He says for now, the city has plenty to accommodate refugees, but his first priority is making them comfortable, giving them a place they can call home.

"If we can get them here and get them jobs, we want them to stay. We would love to see them become Jonesboro residents for life," Mayor Formon says.

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