Thursday, September 01, 2005

new orleans

Things are really bad in New Orleans. People are dying now, infants and the elderly, because there's no drinking water, and no effort to get it to them. People are being tossed out of the Superdome with nowhere to go, since people are unwilling or afraid to drive buses into that part of the city to help evacuate refugees. It's going to be even worse in the next two days if there is no water taken to them. To quote Harlan Ellison, "We're going to see people eating their own babies, for chrissake."

There's going to be disease and hunger and loads of terrible things we can't even imagine yet. A friend of mine said, he was thinking, "Wake up, America, this is what the rest of the world encounters daily." No. Not like this, it doesn't. This is a wholesale disruption of the entire social structure down there, worse than you find in many third world countries. There are looters entering stores just to get food and water, there are anarchists pillaging because they can and shooting at police, rescue workers have been slow to get there, there has been rising tension in the refugee camp at the Superdome, and relief/evacuation efforts have been hideously slow, with no food or water brought in to help these people. We knew the hurricane was coming, and people were told to go to the Superdome, and there was nothing done to prepare for when they got there.

What the fuck were the civil leaders thinking?

My aunt lives in Louisiana. She's now with her son in Atlanta, but I'm sure her house is gone now, and it wouldn't surprise me if my late uncle was exhumed by the flood. (What a cheery, uplifting thought.) My brother-in-law also escaped, but we've no idea what condition his house is in right now. I suspect it's ruined. News reports are saying that more than a thousand people are dead, the survivors who didn't evacuate are being removed, and that it will be more than three months before the city will be inhabitable again. Property damage is in the billions, which is going to affect everyone's insurance premiums. My own prediction is that the New Orleans area is pretty much finished; there will still be a New Orleans, but many of the evacuees are not going to start over again in that area because there is so little to start over with.

My wife is torn between despair and fury over the situation there, and I've told her if she wants to, to call the American Red Cross and see if she can volunteer in any way.

By the way, if you're reading this, visit the Mercy Corps web site and see what you can give. Yeah, it's money and not yourself, but it's something, and Mercy Corps is one of the best nonprofit organizations I'm aware of.

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