Archive for Thursday, September 1, 2005

There’s need for all to respond to hurricane relief

September 1, 2005

Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina lived up to its billing. Hurricanes, which seem to be the favorite natural disaster of cable news networks, have become as much a spectator sport of the late summer and early fall as football and baseball pennant races. In what seems a scripted response, cable networks tracked the storms through the tropics and greeted their American landfall with raincoat-clad announcers talking of deteriorating conditions in wind-driven downpours. Quickly, the stories fade from the national news and our awareness.
But not this time. Right now, large parts of the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are basically broken. It is the worst natural disaster to visit the United States since the San Francisco earthquake of 1904 or the hurricane that slammed into an unprotected Galveston, Texas, four years earlier, claiming more than 6,000 lives.
Much like that storm, Hurricane Katrina might well signal an abrupt decline of a very badly situated city.
With 80 percent of the city below water for perhaps weeks or months and its citizens refugees, New Orleans faces the immediate challenge of managing an ongoing crisis and the more daunting task of what will amount to a rebuilding of its residential base. It faces that future with much of its tax base made worthless and a rootless citizenship perhaps questioning starting over in such a vulnerable site. New Orleans is not alone. Municipalities along the Gulf Coast east to the Florida panhandle face perhaps greater devastation, if not the Crescent City's continuing secondary challenges.
There will be plenty of opportunities for all of us to help. Those appeals are starting with calls for cash donations to relief organizations and blood donations to the American Red Cross. We encourage all to contribute during what promises to be a long, slow recovery.

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