31 August 2005

In Katrina's wake....please help.

I pray that everyone has been following all of the horrible accounts coming out of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast regarding the continued devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. I have many friends in the area and can only imagine what they are going through at this point. My prayers are with them and everyone affected by this horrible disaster. The estimates for damage are already topping 25 billion dollars for the area.

It appears that the levee separating New Orleans from the Lake was breached in at least 3 places and the city is still flooding. It has been determined that they may not be able to stop the flooding until the water reaches equilibrium. At least 12 weeks of evacuation are predicted (at minimum) and they cannot get some out of temporary shelters (over 10,000 are trapped in the superdome alone, possibly 25,000 are still in the city itself). It has already been decided to airlift those trapped to the Astrodome in Houston. There has already been widespread looting, gunfire, etc. Of course, many of our National Guard troops who would handle this are in Iraq and are already stretched thin......and the emergency management response was not prepared for a disaster of this magnitude.

In addition, the oil rigs in the Gulf sustained heavy damage and will not be producing for quite a while. Over 90% of oil production is shut down. Oil prices are already shooting through the roof on Wall Street and our Government has been forced to release US oil reserves. This may be a big wakeup call for Americans (and the White House).....regarding foreign oil dependence and these foolish wars. This is a real disaster.....and very different than any other the area has experienced (or for that matter our country has sustained). The area is still in peril and, of course, cannot be occupied (there is a forced evacuation in place).......hence the need for the troops. Be prepared, it is expected that gasoline will top 4.00 a gallon across the US.

I have been trying to get ahold of people I know in the area (impossible) to find out what I can do. I have let friends in Baton Rouge know that my door here is open or to contact me for anything they may need. I would encourage everyone to contribute to the disaster fund of your choice. Many of these people have lost everything.......they have no shelter, food, water, sanitation, electricity, jobs, finances, bank accounts, the list goes on and on.......and some have lost their lives.

The worst loss of life has been on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Biloxi (the largest metro area) has been completely devastated.

It is very important that we gather together and be there for these Americans that are in such dire need of our help. If you are worried about loved ones, CNN has set up a website that will post pictures of those that have been found or recovered. They are also running news stories that will spotlight rescues.

One last thing.....please tune in to the news to see the depth of this devastation. This is probably going to be the worst national disaster in our history. The entire gulf coast has been compared to a 'war zone' and the devastation is much worse than Camille (the worst on record). The Army's National Guard, Corps of Engineers, and private contractors are working over time down there to figure out how to stop the continued flooding. The flooding is getting worse mind you, NOT better. Up to 3 million people have been affected.

As an aside, where is our President and the White House presence......no where yet. He released a statement that said he will 'cut his vacation short' and make a trip down there BY THE END OF THE WEEK. Unbelievable.


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