Thursday, September 01, 2005


Have we become accustomed to disasters, even hardened to them? Consider Iraq and the slaughter-house events in Africa. The Asian tsunami. See this link for a list of natural disasters. See any newspaper for disasters caused by humankind. So many so frequent, and so cumulatively numbing.

And yet....

The devastation of Katrina caught me off guard. As the hurricane approached the Gulf Coast it wasn't supposed to be so dreadfully powerful.

I'm distraught, benumbed, overwhelmed by news of Katrina's destruction of New Orleans and adjacent Gulf Coast -- the immediate destruction, the horrible aftermath, still unfolding: difficult rescues of survivors, uncontrolable looting, bodies floating in the water and resulting disease risks. thousands displaced with no expectation of returning anytime soon {here's a concise update from Reuters}. It's terrible, awful, close to unimaginable, and, according to one source, much of the damage was preventable.

The immediate loss is shattering in life, health, home, and livelihood to thousands and thousands of people. The long-term loss is yet to be calculated. We're already seeing the impact on the price of gas. One commenter points out that the Port of Southern Louisiana, one of the biggest in the world, is expected to be out of commission for some months. The economic damage could be "plausibly equal to 5% of the US balance of trade with the rest of the world." The cost in lost trade could equal expenditures for the war in Iraq.

Read this post from the Phantom Professor if you have a chance. She quotes a poem by Charles Bukowski that has the lines:
New Orleans was a
place to
I could piss away my life,
except for
the rats.
the rats in my small dark room
very much resented sharing it
with me.
they were large and fearless
and stared at me with eyes
that spoke
an unblinking
Here are some images picked up from Yahoo.

AFP graphic

Canal Street is flooded one day after Hurricane Katrina struck in New Orleans

Remains of a three-bedroom house in D'lberville, Miss.

Bourbon Street in the French Quarter

People leaving the Superdome in the hopes of catching a ride out of town

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