Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina again

This is all over the news and everybody knows about it, but this would not be a personal journal, a record of my life, if I didn't comment on Hurricane Katrina.

It's just awful. All those people displaced, many mourning their losses, or unsure whether loved ones survived. Pets left for what their owners thought would be a few days. Photo albums. Daily journals (glad I'm blogging instead of journaling).

Meanwhile, we're gearing up to fly out in a few days for a week long vacation on the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore. We discussed ditching the trip and helping, but we haven't seen this family in a very long time, and Ben's never met many of them. A tragedy like this hurricane makes us realize that family members might not always be around, so we have to spend time with them when we can. There will be plenty of time and opportunity for us to help after our visit is over.

They're relocating New Orleans folks from the Superdome to the Houston Astrodome, 350 miles by bus. At least 15,000 people have been living there two days and nights without benefit of air conditioning, toiletries, proper facilities, or even enough food and water. There is nowhere else for them to go in New Orleans, as the Superdome area was about the only place buses can still go and still get out of the city -- and the water is still rising.

Jails are flooded to the point that authorities have had to relocate prisoners to state prisons.

Those who left their homes before the waters came are as far flung as Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis. While some motel owners are giving discounts to the displaced, others are price gouging. A Best Western representative was quoted on National Public Radio as saying that, as regrettable as the practice may be, the rules permit individual owners to set whatever price they want.

My boy is calling for me, and I must put him to bed soon. Maybe more on this later.

Mississippi also has suffered great losses. The floodwaters are not still stranding people as they are in New Orleans, but the devastation from the 145 mph sustained winds makes it look like atomic bombs were dropped. Entire neighborhoods are in millions of pieces.

I have heard most of my news of this on NPR, but we are watching a Dateline NBC special right now. A family with four children who returned Tuesday from Florida to Gulfport, MS to survey the damage found their house a flat pile of splinters. They spent the night in their car, and the next morning patrons of the CVS Pharmacy gave them food, water, and Fix-a-Flat for their tire. It's nice to see people doing good things for real, instead of for one of those television shows that replaces a home or a face for advertising dollars.


Dave said...

Heya Mark, thanks for stopping by my blog.

I have a hard time watching the news on TV, as it's normally ALL bad.
I get my news from the newspapers, which I can at least pick and choose what I want to read and not, and there seems to be more good news there than on the tube.

Stop by again soon.

Jim said...

I know what you mean Mark ... I still can't believe what I'm seeing (and reading: bloggers have been reporting the desperation of the refugees and overwhelming scope of the crisis since Monday). I don't know who's to blame, but it's just incomprehensible to me that people and families are dying and every possible resource on the city, state and federal levels has not being mobilized.

By the way ... I liked your post on reporting!