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Old August 31st, 2005, 07:56 PM   #1
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Reflections on Katrina

Obviously, it has been a very trying few days for our country, perhaps the most turmoil we've seen since Sept. 11th. The amount of devastation in Gulfport, Biloxi and other town in Mississippi is nothing short of total obliteration. I fear that when the water recedes in New Orleans, people will discover the desctrution is just as bad there, only on a much larger scale.

First, I'd just like to talk about the storm. The storm, amazingly, weakened quite a bit as it came on shore, from 175 mph sustained winds to 140 mph sustained winds, which actually cana make a huge difference in wind damage, which can be seen. In fact, wind damage is fairly light considering the amount of storm surge that came ashore in Mississippi. I think a lesson we have learned, from this storm and Ivan, is that the actual SIZE of the storm and past strength are the most important factors when it comes to surge.

New Orleans escaped the wrath initially, but the water was simply too much for the levees and obviously they failed. It almost seems unreal that this storm, which looked very ragged making landfall, actually had incredible force and wiped out EVERYTHING on the MS gulf coast. Kudos to the National Hurricane Center for pretty much nailing the forcast in time for most people to get out.

Next, a larger and more important aspect of the story: people. I have to say I have never seen such a breakdown in order and civility than I have in New Orleans. It is quite disturbing to see a very scarce amount of humanitarian stories, outside of coast guard rescues, coming out of new orleans. Cops looting, cops being shot, carjackings, riots, hostage situations, the whole thing is choatic and disturbing.

The media coverage has also been disturning. At first, their coverage seemed lax and unaware of the true situation on the gulf coast. I was aware because I was skimming blogs and weather fourms with EMS personal or their friends posting on it, saying hundreds of bodies were found in Mississippi. Soon, especially on Tuesday, they began to get more somber about their coverage and by Tuesday night, many programs had a exploitive feeling to them. I still don't think they know yet the true cost of this storm...or as KCN at SSP put it" "there aren't enough hours in the day to cover the severity of this storm."

I really hope we get financial aid from other (wealthy) countries, as we have helped them out in the past. I also hope american citizens do their part by donated at least some money to the red cross or someone.

This is truly a devastating natural disaster. Hundreds, *maybe* more than a thousand people have died. A truly remarkable event in a country where this type of thing isn't supposed to happen. No one ever thought that more than 50, or at most 100 people would die in a hurricane in the US again, considering the amount of technology at our disposal. Even Andrew only killed 40 people. Now look where we are...amazing.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 08:49 PM   #2
Eddy Gordo
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Man, these category 4 & 5 hurricanes come yearly now, it's ridiculous. in Mobile, it flooded part of the downtown area. at some places, roofs caved in. at least we don't have any looting going around like in the Big Easy. in a week or two everything should be back to normal.

New Orleans is a warzone now.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 09:12 PM   #3
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The damage is just so profound I can hardly absorb it. Even I sort of thought on Monday afternoon, "Ok, this storm packed a pretty good dent in some areas, but it's not at all what the media was anticipating it to be like." Tuesday rolls on in and shakes things up with massive flooding. Katrina seems to be all about one-two punches. It hit Florida as sort of a "teaser" compared to the "real thing" in the Gulf states. After hitting Florida, it was a warning sign; the final blow in the Gulf states did everybody in. And when it hit the Gulf states, that too was sort of a warning sign, because the "final blow" to New Orleans came a day later.

The standstill of water, in addition to the flooding general, will bring in many more problems. Raw sewage, oil leaks, toxic chemicals, sediments, and dead people decaying in the summer sun are mixed together and bathe the city in vile water. Many of the looters aren't even stealing essential items like food or water. Go figure the ignorant and egotistic people exploit the vacated stores so they can pick up a television, music, jewelry, or alcohol. Shall I carry on about the stupidity of it all? I'm not so certain New Orleans will ever be the same again. As far as other countries helping us, I hope they do, but then again, they may not. Since America is supposed to be the country that gives, our reputation is such that we have plenty of money. If the floods were in the Netherlands, we'd normally help; if conditions were bad in Bangladesh, we'd normally help. The problem is that help isn't "mandated" just because it's a foreign country. America is perceived rich, so not to be cynical, but don't expect a whole lot countries to help. Some of our closer allies and smaller countries under the radar of the media might pitch in some money. I'll promptly donate to the Red Cross.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 09:38 PM   #4
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Disturbing indeed. Just as today you go to San Francisco and hear about the pre-1906 (quake) city and the post-1906 city, 100 years from now you'll be hearing about the pre-2005 New Orleans and the post-2005 New Orleans. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake did not obliterate San Francisco -- it changed the character of the city forever, and if anything the city emerged stronger for it. That's what will happen here.
Milwaukee: a happy place to be.
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Old September 1st, 2005, 01:39 AM   #5
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don't hold your breathe waiting for aide from other countries...

but don't doubt for a minute that donations from within are already on their way and groups like americorps, the design corps, etc will be on their way to help as need be...

NO will rebuild and carry on as it has... remember not so long ago the entire area around the mississippi was under water for a week or so destroying plenty, but its been rebuilt and has carried on...
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Old September 1st, 2005, 05:53 AM   #6
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The sad thing about this is that it will happen again. For years people who study weather and coastlines have been warning about overdevelopment of coastal areas, New Orleans in particular which is unbelievably vulnerable. There was a cyclical lull in hurricanes for about 20 some years duing which much of this development has occurred.

History tells us that severe hurrincanes have always happened, but during most of this time most coastal areas were pretty remote and sparsely inhabited. Now the cyclican lull in tropical activity seems to be over and the bills overdue are about to be collected. As awful as NO is, at least peope got warned and had a chance to leave. For a narrative of what happened to a place that got hit by a similar storm without warning, read Issac's Storm, about the Galveston hurricane of 1900. Not only was the death toll appalling but the survivors endured conditions that are hard to imagine. Most of the East and Gulf coasts are vulnerable to hurricanes and areas that are built up enough to be at risk are probably 10 times more widespread than they were during the last hurricane peak in the 50's and 60's.
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