We're all feeling a little helpless right now, as we see the devastating images from Louisiana and Mississippi.
In our 16 years of publishing weekly news about the plastics industry - and our nearly 10 years of reporting on daily breaking news via our Web site - we've learned how to cover natural disasters. Think back to 1992, when Hurricane Andrew hit south Florida, or 1993, when major flooding occurred in the Midwest, especially along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
This time is no different. Our reporters have been busy working the telephones all week, searching for news on plastics processors and suppliers hit by Hurricane Katrina. News tips have dribbled in all week.
Like you, we've worried about how colleagues are doing - businesses and individuals; molders, extruders, educators. The Gulf Coast is home to many resin plants, of course, and the region has been a growth area for processors in the past decade. In terms of research and education, too, Mississippi and surrounding states have been growing in importance to the U.S. plastics industry.
But at this point, we've probably heard more from companies that want to help out than from firms actually hurt by the storm.
Telephone service and other electronic communication to the area is difficult. Many contacts are hard to reach because they evacuated. And when we do reach those who did leave, often they don't know exactly how much damage their companies experienced.
So this week we've mostly waited for updates. We expect that we'll be continuing to report on Katrina for several weeks. If you have a hurricane-related news tip, e-mail [email protected], or call managing editor Don Loepp at (330) 865-6154.
In the meantime, Plastics News will offer free classified ads to plastics processors and their customers affected by Hurricane Katrina, similar to what we offered in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew. The ads will run in a special ``Emergency'' section of Classifieds.
Firms needing replacement equipment, spare parts, resin supplies, molds, machine time, outside component-assembly help, temporary or full-time help can take advantage of the offer. There is no charge for this service, which will be offered in each of Plastics News' issues through October. For information about the Classified ads, contact Ed Rich at (330) 865-6113, or Jason Mitchell at (330) 865-6195.
We would like to help our industry brethren, and others, if we can. It's at times like this that people and industries need to come together.
Let us know if we can help in any way.