I usually try to avoid posting about US stuff on this blog, but what has been happening with Katrina is simply too amazing and too horrible.
On Sunday night I was watching CNN and Aaron Brown asked a Louisiana disaster analyst, "What are the chances that tomorrow we'll have lost a city?" The answer was "50:50" and I couldn't believe it.
Much of yesterday's news was focused on what had happened in Mississippi, but there was surprisingly little coming out of New Orleans. Yes, we were seeing some pictures and some stories, but, for the most part, it seemed like we weren't getting much news because the news people simply weren't able to get in and get the story out. We are talking about a city under water, with no electricity, no phones, and no access to food or plumbing.
On Monday, when things didn't seem so bad, Robert McClelland wrote that he felt too much attention was being paid to this storm. Well, as I see it, this isn't just a storm. This is a major city, bigger than Ottawa, that is suffering a breakdown of civilization, with no end in sight. And, from what I've seen, insufficient support from outside in terms of emergency manpower.
By now, everyone knows the basics of why the situation in New Orleans is so bad. However, I found this Wikipedia paragraph useful in understanding the history:
Since Sunday, a growing crowd of refugees has been huddled inside the Louisiana Superdome domed football stadium. They've had no power since early Monday and are in miserable conditions with water rising around them. A plan has now been announced to move them, by bus, to another domed football stadium, the Houston Astrodome. Not a great place to live. Meanwhile, it has been estimated that up to a million people could be left homeless by this event, and not able to return to the city for months.
Now, we all know that this sort of thing happens in other parts of the world. However, like 9/11, Katrina is shattering the myths we unconsciously hold in North America about our invicibility and immunity.