My heart goes out to all of the people who have lost so much. It’s not just New Orleans. In addition to Louisiana, the states of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi were all hit by the hurricane. We got nasty storms and tornados even here in Georgia.
Hang tight, grab a hand, take what comfort that you can.
This is one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in our history. I can’t think of what else might compare with it. Please, everyone, stay calm so that we don’t all contribute to the emerging consequences and fallout of the disaster. Don’t become hysterical. Conserve energy, do what you can to help – and report fuel price gouging.
You’re already aware of the resources for you to donate to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina and the surrounding storms and tornados. Please donate what you can. It looks to me as though the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were among the very first responders – that’s where I’m sending my contributions.
Unfortunately, I believe that we are headed for more tragedy. It doesn’t really seem as though the reality has sunk in yet. Things are going to get even worse.
We will have to provide for our people, who will continue to need water, food, care, and somewhere to live. It’s strange to think of refugees in America, but that’s the situation.
Contaminated water, lack of sanitation, death and heat. This is a bad combination. We have a strong potential for epidemics here. Hospitals are unprepared for multiple cases of E.coli, hepatitus, cholera, typhoid, leptospirosis, or anything vectored by mosquitos – malaria, dengue fever, west nile – and so on. We could see disease and spread, resulting in even more deaths.
The water itself is already toxic and getting more so. I shudder to see the news, showing people walking around in it. Get out of that water if you can.
There is no excuse for rampant looting, or – could this be true? – people shooting at the rescue heliopters. FEMA rescue boats have stopped operations because of the multiple hazards. But doesn’t it seem that they are putting more emphasis on punishing looters than on helping people survive? And why would Bush order the shooting of non-violent looters who are looking only for supplies to save lives?
We’re already seeing oil refining and distribution problems, price gouging, looting, panic. It’s a little hysterical here in Atlanta.
I’m not going to blame Bush for the hurricane, so don’t get your dander up. Still, there are some things to keep in mind here about priorities and the distribution of resources. They will have to be realigned now because we really are in the midst of an emergency.
1. Bush ignored FEMA’s warning in 2001. The Federal Emergency Management Agency warned in 2001 that the three likeliest and most catastrophic disasters facing this country were flooding in New Orleans, a massive earthquake in San Francisco, and a terrorist attack on New York City. Well, 2 out of 3 have now happened, but he still won’t listen.
2. Bush’s policies resulted in the gradual, then drastic slashing of flood protection projects in New Orleans. Maybe if the projects had been funded and finished the hurricane wouldn’t have been able to create so much damage. Maybe they would. I don’t know – I’m not an engineer, and New Orleans has been in trouble for a long time. Still, the priorities are wrong, wrong, and wrong. We’re spending $186 million a day in Iraq.
3. Our national guard in Louisiana? “Assets,” as Bush likes to say these days, were dragged off their prime directive – domestic protection – into Iraq. A lot of equipment went with them. Louisiana and New York are the two states with the highest number of guard and reserve deaths, almost all of them within the last 9 months. States with wildfires are also missing their national guard (and helicopters) – and of course our borders are less protected with so many of our domestic forces overseas. Although it appears as though we have enough people to do the essential work needed in New Orleans, Biloxi and other affected areas, it’s not right that members of the national guard are doing overseas duty.
4. Possible – just possible – effects of global warming, climate change, or whatever your favorite ideologue is using this week. Katrina would have come anyway – it’s part of a natural cycle. However, hurricanes are expected to get worse and worse and Bush will not listen to the science.
Bush doesn’t let anything interfere with profits. A typical dry alcoholic, he just can’t take in anything that might disrupt his worldview – no matter who is hurt by it. In this case, higher sea surface temperatures have been expected to add more and more energy of hurricanes. The loss of wetlands (or as I call it, swamp) around New Orleans also contributed to the problem.
Bush knew the potential of this thing as the hurricane was approaching. He should have been right there being a leader, urging people to evacuation, and helping the state to help the ones that had no-where to go and no money to leave. The hardest hit people from New Orleans to Biloxi were the poor. Between his perpetual war and his tax cuts to the rich, things like disaster preparedness took a back seat. War profiteering and manipulating with fear has been bad enough – if I start seeing profit from disaster… well, let’s not go there. Until yesterday, Bush’s public statements still centered on Iraq. He finally stepped up and made some gestures toward leadership yesterday – but his words sounded hollow to my ears.
America’s leaders, ultimately, are the people. Let’s rise to the occasion. We all need a little shove from the best of what is in us, not the worst. Our “leaders” will have to learn to follow our lead – they are having trouble understanding that in this country, they need to have all our interests at heart.
Let’s show the world the good side of America – the America that cares. Stay calm, help each other out, do what needs to be done.