More on the Hurricane Recovery

It can be overwhelming talking about hurricane Katrina. Tragedy offers little to lift our spirits, and it shouldn’t; we should be driven by suffering to combat it in all we do. There are much better resources available online, but I’d like to bring a few articles I found important and overlooked.

The makeshift levee is holding and water is beginning to be pumped out of New Orleans. Now comes the next challenge – what to do with the floodwater.
The toxic soup of chemicals and human waste will probably end up in the Mississippi River or Lake Pontchartrain. And that could bring an environmental disaster to the region hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.

Rodney Mallett, communications director for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, says there really isn’t any alternative to pumping the water into Lake Pontchartrain or the Mississippi River. “I don’t see how we could treat all that water,” Mallett said.
Bio-remediation — cleaning up the water — would require the time and expense of constructing huge storage facilities. That isn’t considered possible since people want the water drained as soon as possible.
– “New Orleans’ toxic floodwater poses environmental threat

This first article is very troubling. The impact of this immense pollution will encompass nearly every part of the region, contaminating waters, soil, plants, animals and people. The result of this contamination may be one of the lingering aspects of this disaster of nature and human ineptness, especially if this toxic water is released untreated. I hold a faint hope it won’t be, but fear sights are set too much on the short term. For further reading, I’d suggest “Chemicals bigger concern than cholera.”

Not everyone seems to be taking the suffering of the people of New Orleans as seriously as might be expected.

Commenting on the facilities that have been set up for the evacuees — cots crammed side-by-side in a huge stadium where the lights never go out and the sound of sobbing children never completely ceases — former First Lady Barbara Bush concluded that the poor people of New Orleans had lucked out.
“Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them,” Mrs. Bush told American Public Media’s “Marketplace” program, before returning to her multi-million dollar Houston home.
On the tape of the interview, Mrs. Bush chuckles audibly as she observes just how great things are going for families that are separated from loved ones, people who have been forced to abandon their homes and the only community where they have ever lived, and parents who are explaining to children that their pets, their toys and in some cases their friends may be lost forever.
– “It’s Good Enough for the Poor

We’re all blessed with our lives, but can we truly say those suffering in New Orleans today are lucky when compared to even the least well off of us looking from outside? It troubles me that people such as Mrs. Bush do not come across as being truly concerned for people suffering and attempt to portray the suffering through rose-colored glasses. Going from being poor to living in the way many in New Orleans are now is not in any way an act of good fortune and we should not try to comfort ourselves with such lies.

I think it’s clear that George Bush and his administration must bear a great deal of responsibility for the harm caused by their slow response to the disaster and their grave misjudgements in taking funding from levee projects years before. What is worrying now is that Bush wants to lead the investigation that should indict himself and members of his administration.

U.S. President George Bush wants to get to the bottom of what went wrong with the response to Hurricane Katrina. He announced Tuesday that he will oversee an investigation. The goal of the probe will be to identify past problems and to ensure that America could withstand a future catastrophe.
“What I intend to do is lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong,” Bush said. “We still live in an unsettled world. We want to make sure we can respond properly if there is a WMD (weapons of mass destruction) attack or another major storm.”
– “Bush to lead investigation into hurricane debacle

His mention of weapons of mass distruction, an obsession he can’t let go of, it appears, implies to me a disconnection from the present turmoil. Will America now wake up to his dangerous policies too late or allow him to continue with a shrug?

It’s most likely that the recovery of the gulf region will take long enough that people displaced will need to rebuild their lives before that happens. One interesting potential is a migration of African Americans.

If those forced out of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina end up re-building their lives in new locations, it could be the largest U.S. black resettlement since the Great Migration of the 20th Century lured southern blacks to the North in search of jobs and better lives.
Officials have said it will take many months and maybe even years before New Orleans is rebuilt. On Monday, Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley said: “We advise people that this city has been destroyed. We are simply asking people not to come back to this city right now.”
In Houston, which expected many thousands of evacuees to remain for a long time, interviews suggested that thousands of blacks who lost everything and had no insurance will end up living in Texas or states other than Louisiana.

“You’ve got 300,000, 400,000 people, many of them low income without a lot of means, who are not going to have the ability to wait out a year or two or three years for the region to rebuild,” said Barack Obama, the only black member of the U.S. Senate.
– “Could Katrina damage prompt huge wave of black migration?

The effects of this migration could be far-reaching, and possibly positive in the long term. However, the struggle for so many to rebuild their lives is going to demand a lot of both those people and communities that will take them in. Personally, I’d like to see Canada open up our borders to the immigration of displaced people to help ease the burden on American states and help our own work force.

Among other articles I found of interest are “Clinton: Government ‘failed’ people,” “Anne Rice: ‘During this crisis you failed us’,” and “Too Many People in Nature’s Way.” The most powerful and direct personal response to the aftermath of Katrina has come from Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic candidate I wished to be president.

“As bad as this catastrophe will prove to be, it is in fact only a warning. Our government must change its direction. It must become involved in making America a better place to live, a place where all may survive and thrive. It must get off the path of war and seek the path of peace, peace with the natural environment, peace with other nations, peace through a just economic system.”
– “Indifference is a Weapon of Mass Destruction

My respect for Dennis has only increased after reading his insightful and rare speech; he’s truly of a rare breed of compassionate, intelligent and eloquent politicians. I can only hope America will at last start to look to people of his ilk for leadership.

14 comments on “More on the Hurricane Recovery

  1. last I had read out our local paper here, that five people have already died from that toxin brew.

    This evening it was said that the water contians over 20 types of E.Coli and 10 times the normal amount of Lead, and yet there is still more testing being done, but then of course the water already began to pumped out before the water even started to be tested.

  2. San Diego my town have been receiving refugees as of yesterday, and 1,000 more are expected to be coming on in soon.

    The Problem we are facing here to begin with is our housing crunch, it is very tight here, and yes very expensive here to live.

    My greatest concern is that these victims of the hurricane will be stranded in a city that they can not afford to live in with low salarie jobs that do not meet the demands of a low of the high cost of living standards here

    We once were consider to be middle class now we are in the lower class of low and I'am working two jobs, my husband works two jobs and our rent for one bedroom is currently at $1200 per month and we lived in San Diego Metro area in an apartment near the Zoo, and I'am not counting the house hold bills or the food we buy as well as the high rising cost of fuel

  3. Inflation and the coming depression are going to be compounded by this disaster. I think most of us are already feeling the financial crunch, and it shows no sign of abating. I can only imagine how hard it will be for those starting with nothing.

  4. Lisa, who I see is also using the same IP as Albert and other commenters who are becoming a minor annoyance, I budget well and make sacrifices so that I can spend $4 every now and then on a box of tea.

  5. last I had read out our local paper here, that five people have already died from that toxin brew.

    This evening it was said that the water contians over 20 types of E.Coli and 10 times the normal amount of Lead, and yet there is still more testing being done, but then of course the water already began to pumped out before the water even started to be tested.

  6. San Diego my town have been receiving refugees as of yesterday, and 1,000 more are expected to be coming on in soon.

    The Problem we are facing here to begin with is our housing crunch, it is very tight here, and yes very expensive here to live.

    My greatest concern is that these victims of the hurricane will be stranded in a city that they can not afford to live in with low salarie jobs that do not meet the demands of a low of the high cost of living standards here

    We once were consider to be middle class now we are in the lower class of low and I'am working two jobs, my husband works two jobs and our rent for one bedroom is currently at $1200 per month and we lived in San Diego Metro area in an apartment near the Zoo, and I'am not counting the house hold bills or the food we buy as well as the high rising cost of fuel

  7. Inflation and the coming depression are going to be compounded by this disaster. I think most of us are already feeling the financial crunch, and it shows no sign of abating. I can only imagine how hard it will be for those starting with nothing.

  8. Lisa, who I see is also using the same IP as Albert and other commenters who are becoming a minor annoyance, I budget well and make sacrifices so that I can spend $4 every now and then on a box of tea.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: