aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
NOLA & Katrina
There’s nothing I can add. So I have decided to go dark today. This will be my only post:
Now, for the last hour or so, I’ve been scanning all the relevant blogs and news outlets, and it does appear at least in the US that the reality of just how devastating and significant what has happened is sinking in. Before I go on, I want to emphasize that this is not some kind of “garden variety” natural disaster like the hurricanes (even some of the more devastating ones) that hit the US southeast every several years. What is happening is frankly unprecendeted, and will send shockwaves across the US and, potentially, the rest of the world for some time to come.
I’ve been scanning too. At first I thought it wasn’t so bad. I’m gratedful that so many people, including those I know, got out. But that 20% stayed or were stranded there is still astounding:
New Orleans as the world has known it will never exist again.
Simply put - and keep in mind, I’m only talking about New Orleans right now - a city of over half a million people is now entirely under 20 feet of water. And because all power, electricity, internet access is out and the entirety of New Orleans’s government and media have left the city, we really don’t know just how bad the human toll is at this point… The reason the death toll counts are so low at this point is only because it is impossible to get close enough to the scene to really know, let alone find those trapped. And again, keep in mind, this is only the toll in New Orleans, which actually escaped the center of the original storm.
I can’t sleep. I’m too upset by everything that’s happening - Americans are dying right now, and there’s nothing we can do.
What the President should do is declare New Orleans a total loss, start building refugee camps further inland, and evacuate as many people as possible… The fact that the evacuation plan was “get in your car and drive north” in a city where hundreds of thousands of people can’t afford automobiles should tell you something.