Pregnant woman tells of Katrina chaos

EXCLUSIVEBy Will Grahame-ClarkeA HEAVILY-PREGNANT woman from Suffolk who was forced by Hurricane Katrina to flee her house has said she may never return to her adopted home town.


By Will Grahame-Clarke

A HEAVILY-PREGNANT woman from Suffolk who was forced by Hurricane Katrina to flee her house has said she may never return to her adopted home town.

Karen Marlett, originally from Bury St Edmunds, lost almost everything in the aftermath of the huge storm that ripped through Biloxi, Mississippi, where she has made her home with American husband Robert.

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The 26-year-old, who is 33 weeks pregnant, has now been told she may not be able to return to Biloxi, which has been rendered uninhabitable by the force of the hurricane, for another six months.

But Mrs Marlett, who was evacuated to her mother-in-law's house in Colorado with her nine-month-old son, Michael, just days before Katrina struck, said her family had been lucky - despite their property suffering huge damage.

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“I don't know if we will ever go back because I don't know if my husband's job will still be there,” said Mrs Marlett, who moved to the US in 2003 after meeting her future husband when he served at RAF Mildenhall.

“Our house is still standing, but it is quite damaged. We didn't think it would be that bad, but it was horrible - I've never seen such damage.”

Mr Marlett, a meteorology lecturer with the US Air Force, has been stranded in Colorado because of petrol shortages, which have hit America. But he may soon return to Biloxi to repair the air base at which he used to work.

“I think we have been lucky compared to a lot of people in the area. Only a quarter of a mile down the road, the storm surge completely destroyed people's houses. We are all safe here for now, but I don't know what the future holds,” he said.

Mrs Marlett's mother, Rosemary Davidson, from Red Lodge, had hoped to visit her daughter in November.

But the devastation caused by the hurricane has left her concerned for her daughter's family's welfare.

“There is no compassion for people in these areas. I'm very concerned because Karen is 33 weeks pregnant and they've lost almost everything,” she said.

“They also have a nine-month-old baby to look after. Karen is in pain and she has lost all of her confidence. The US government are doing their best, but they should be getting more help - there is nothing of Biloxi left.

“People are staying indoors without power and water because they are afraid of looters. It is a very frightening situation.

“They have got nothing left and it is so sad and horrific. We aren't helping them because it is America and there is no sympathy.”

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