Gulf Coast Desperate for Victoria-made LED Lights in Wake of Hurricane Katrina

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Solar-powered LED lighting produced in Victoria is lighting up key transportation routes on the U.S. Gulf Coast left dark by Hurricane Katrina.

Orders for more than 500 of Carmanah Technologies' marine, railway and aviation lights were received during the week following Katrina.

To meet the demand, the pioneer LED and solar power company has sent all of its inventory, and is dedicating all of its new production to the area.

Most of the orders have been for Carmanah's 700-Series marine navigation lights, which have been sent to the U.S. Coast Guard in Mobile, Ala., for distribution to affected areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Three hundred lights will be used by the Coast Guard alone, said Mimi Drabit, Carmanah's coast guard liaison for its marine lighting division.

"We were able to get the first order out to the coast guard within four to five hours," said Drabit. "They phoned first thing in the morning for 80 lights they needed to get that day. And that was taken from stuff that was sitting on our shelves destined for our distributors."

In fact, said Drabit, Carmanah's distributors quickly agreed to give up their orders to help the Gulf Coast.

As well, railway company CSX Corporation ordered 100 Carmanah Model 601 lights to mark its bridges along a hard-hit 160 kilometres of track between Pascagoula, Miss. and New Orleans.

And aviation lights are being ordered to mark helicopter pads.

Carmanah's lights are fully self-contained and can be installed in minutes anywhere. They are designed to operate for years without external electrical sources.

Previously, Carmanah provided its lights to crisis relief efforts in Sudan and Haiti.

When demand for the lights subsides -- which may be a while yet, said Drabit -- Carmanah will then have to put all of its efforts into sending lights to its distributors in the time of year when it has its largest production load.

Storm Watch:

Economic fallout from Hurricane Katrina:

  • Of the estimated 400,000 flooded properties in three coastal counties of Mississippi, just 21,600 had flood-insurance policies, said George Dale, the Mississippi insurance commissioner.
  • Oil output rose by 36,969 barrels and stood at 43 percent of pre-storm levels Monday.
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport will begin accepting passenger flights today.
  • FEMA has so far spent $623.4 million on Katrina disaster aid to individuals and households.