Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina

Thus far I have resisted posting anything about Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that it has wrought the Gulf Coast. It is not that I am ambivalent to the situation. My heart goes out to the people of this region and it is my hope as it is everyone’s hope that the recovery effort is finally grabbing a foothold and relief for the thousands is near. I refuse however, to get too deeply involved in the politically motivated blame game.

This disaster is no one’s fault. This is the worst natural disaster to hit the United States and it covers more than 90,000 square miles. 90,000 square miles is just a number to many people. Most people will have a hard time putting that number into perspective. Just as most will have a difficult time understanding the logistical nightmare this number represents compounded by the fact that a lot of this area is now under water.

Speaking as someone with experience in working a flooded area in the aftermath of a Hurricane on more than one occasion, water is one of, if not the, most dangerous and relief inhibitive obstacles to be confronted. The experience I mentioned above was certainly on a smaller scale then the disaster confronting New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast, but the complaints I have been hearing over the last few days are the same. Officials should have been better prepared or relief has been slow to arrive.

The logistics of transporting relief supplies and moving refugees always takes some time and has never been instantaneous. Immediate relief has always been dependent on neighbors helping neighbors in the best way possible and neighbors have been helping neighbors all over the Gulf Coast. Yes, there are certainly some bad apples in these places taking advantage of the situation and preying on the weak but I guarantee you there are many more instances of people helping others. These stories will not be told until the aftermath of this disaster but they will be told.

As stated before I am not going to get into blaming anyone or talk about how things could have been done better or defend how things are being done now. Having worked with them and for them, I believe that officials in charge of preparing for and responding to disasters do the very best that they can. No plan is perfect and some events that spawn from natural disasters cannot be foreseen. However, I do know this, the relief effort currently underway is lighting fast compared to what would be taking place in any other developed country and that with every disaster comes lessons learned that will benefit the victims of the next disaster.

Pray for the victims of the Gulf Coast and help them in anyway possible.
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