Saturday, September 03, 2005

My Hurricane Katrina Post

I'm going to start off with a bit of copy-catness: Beaver has provided links to sites that did a beautiful job of commenting on the storm's aftermath. I'm going to go back to a temper tantrum that I started on Liquid Plastic earlier today.

This country has seen a lot of disasters, both natural and "human" made (I used that term loosely). What I cannot understand is while we have some pretty good methods of prediction, we do not have effective pre-disaster plans and aftermath help. I'm honestly not really sure what I'm asking for. There's got to be a better way to get and keep people safe. Right now, at least in FL, the only way to get out of the line of a hurricane is to hop in your car and hit the gridlock on the highway. They are kind enough to suspend the tolls on the FL turnpike system, but that's little consolation. Sure there are shelters. The shelters are generally schools that are limitedly prepared. Classrooms get emptied and you're allowed to sleep on your own bedding on the floor. I guess it's better than nothing...but again, you'd better have a car to get there. There are some special (medical) needs shelters that are better equipped, and I think they even have cots or something. There might be free transportation based on inability to get there yourself, but that's a definite might. Then there's always the airline option. If you're capable, you can pay the gouging prices for a last minute flight out of the area. I, myself, have found myself in a predicament of needing to get out of the area (we get kicked out of the dorms) and having no means of travel. In the end I used my doe eyes and some quick phone calls to find someone heading my way that had an empty seat in their personal vehicles. The school is nice enough to offer us free transportation to the nearest shelter, should we need it. Luckily, the camaraderie here has allowed that not a single student from this campus has been forced to endure a hurricane trapped in a shelter. But seriously, I don't know what other people would do if they couldn't leave. Sure, there's a mandatory evac notice, but are you going to provide transportation to get us out? So many people die in the hurricanes from being trapped in their own homes.

A classic example of this happened when I was still a child. Hurricane Andrew swept through Homestead, FL destroying the limited possessions the people had. Although the numbers are not yet in from Katrina, Andrew held the position of being the most costly natural disaster the States has ever faced. The people were ridiculed for not leaving, looking back I thought they were stupid as well. Now I know, there was no option for these people. Say what you want about the people...they're human just like you and I and that makes them no less worthy. It seems that storm which brought about new building codes and heightened awareness did nothing for getting people out in future storms. Then there's Hurricane Charlie, last year. Poor Punta Gorda. To this day, you can see the unending FEMA trailer parks from the interstate for the people who lost EVERYTHING and have no where to live now. That's one of the poorest areas in our state. Those people had no where to go, and no way to get out. For heaven sake, they didn't even have a shelter that would hold up in the storm; it collapsed at the beginning of the storm. When Ivan began threatening the gulf coast again, there was talking of public transportation to Orlando to seek refuge since there was no shelter for them to hide in. But there was only talk.

There were days of notice that Miss Catastrophic Katrina was heading for our favorite party town, located 60 feet below sea level. Sure, evac notices went up, but why wasn't there help to get all those people out. No shit the place was going to flood. That's what happens when the pumps are off and storm surges pummel the coast.

I don't know much about the restoration phase. It's always something that happens slowly and has little direct effect on me. For example, after having two hurricanes make landfall less than an hour north of my school in September 2004, we still did not have the full amount of traffic lights at each intersection in May 2005. By the time I returned in August, it appeared that they were all back in place. What I don't understand, is why can't we get the people who "we" left in their homes to suffer the storm out of their shambles, now?? It's not like that particular section of the States has never seen flooding situations. Although the specific details escape me, I know I've seen people sitting on their roof-tops in Mississippi more than once on my television screen. Why can't we figure out a way to help them? Perhaps I'm asking questions that are logically negated. I'm admitting that I don't know a thing about this particular aspect. But, I don't understand.

Okay, I'm done, for now. I will continue to pray, as it's the only resource I have. I ask anyone reading to do the same.


  1. You touched my heart wise one ... and all I can do is cry and pray too. Thank you for posting this, you said it better then I could ... and sometimes I admit my emotions get the best of me ... but still, I will not allow it to take me back to that place I was in ... where I too was taught to hate others because of skin color.

    I like the place I am in, where love is my friend, and with it I draw those to me that love without blinders. Your wisdom, understanding and kindness never ceases to amaze me.

  2. Today I am going to work on my novel ... I got 10 chapters and counting ... just so you know. I just took a blog break because I was preoccupied with the plight of the people of New Orleans.