This video shows the damage Hurricane Katrina brought to the coast – it obliterated entire towns. So many lives lost. They keep repeating on the news they can’t worry about counting the dead, with so many who still need rescuing.
Tragedies like this bring out the best and worst in all of us. Looking at Craigslist in New Orleans or at those in my home town that are offering to help is heartening. Donating to to Red Cross is probably the easiest, and probably best way to help for now.
As for the worst, there is some news of looting, but that news is being presented in a racially biased way. As Atrios suggests it is “about number 589 on the list of things which matter right now.”. Lives have been lost. Survivors need to be rescued and others need food, water, shelter, and protection.
The rumblings of failures in our infrastructure and system are scary. Bush was – where else – vacationing – see here and here. And there is news that the levees had funding slashed by his administration. In addition, disturbingly, there seems to have been a failed effort to reinforce those levees in the break between the hurricane and when they broke. But as this NYTimes article says:
…this seems like the wrong moment to dwell on fault-finding, or even to point out that it took what may become the worst natural disaster in American history to pry President Bush out of his vacation. All the focus now must be on rescuing the survivors. Beyond that lies a long and painful recovery, which must begin with a national vow to help all the storm victims and to save and repair New Orleans.
People who think of that graceful city and the rest of the Mississippi Delta as tourist destinations must have been reminded, watching the rescue operations, that the real residents of this area are in the main poor and black. The only resources most of them will have to fall back on will need to come from the federal government.
Those of us in New York watch the dire pictures from Louisiana with keen memories of the time after Sept. 11, when the rest of the nation made it clear that our city was their city, and that everyone was part of the battle to restore it. New Orleans, too, is one of the places that belongs to every American’s heart – even for people who have never been there.
Right now it looks as if rescuing New Orleans will be a task much more daunting than any city has faced since the San Francisco fire of 1906. It must be a mission for all of us.
It seems Nola’s blog is the best place to go for news direct from New Orleans.