I am incredibly depressed about what is happening in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana right now. I can’t imagine what must be going through the minds of those who are there. All those people in the superdome—some of whom might not make it out….it just makes me physically ill.
I know there have been reports of looting in the area but from what I can tell from the images on the news most of the stores that are being looted are grocery stores. I saw one woman running out with a large package of Huggies. I’m sorry but if I was stuck there I’d be looting the grocery stores too.
What makes the whole thing surreal for me is that about a year ago I read an article in National Geographic. It pointed out that Louisiana was loosing 25 square miles of wetlands a year thanks partially to ill conceived levees and canals built for petroleum exploration and ship traffic. It also pointed out that those wetlands had traditionally served as a buffer for New Orleans against strong hurricanes and that with global warming raising the sea level and with predictions of the hurricanes this century being more numerous and stronger than in the past New Orleans could be in big trouble.
In fact here is the hypothetical scenario they put forth:
The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level—more than eight feet below in places—so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.
Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.
When did this calamity happen? It hasn't—yet.
I read another article last month that said every 60 years or so we have more powerful hurricanes and that 2005 was likely to be a bad year for those in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.
And now all the predictions are coming true. I’m not trying to make a political statement here. For me this goes way beyond politics. People are dying. Approximately a million people are currently homeless.
As a general rule I can take bad news in stride. I do what I can to make things better and then I move on with my life.
But this kind of stuff is hard. I feel for these people so deeply and I wish to God there was something more I could do…I’ve already donated what I can to the Red Cross and I’m praying but other than that most of our hands are tied.
Kind of puts all my little problems into perspective.
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