Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Disaster Relief

I mainly deal with tragedy through humor. That's my defense mechanism. It's how I cope with loss and pain.

But that's not to say I don't feel terrible for the victims of these natural and unnatural horrors, and I certainly do. I've honestly fought back tears twice today just watching footage of Katrina's destruction, though in fair disclosure I must admit I've often got the emotional balance of a little schoolgirl. I mean, A League of Their Own even got to me several times (poor Betty Spaghetti).

I get testy and annoyed when the subway takes five extra minutes to show up, so I know how difficult it must be for the people in New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama who were affected by this natural disaster. It'll be weeks, and months in some parts of the country, before things even resemble normalcy. And that's just awful.

Hundreds of thousands are still without power, and they won't get it back for a month or so. What's worse, there's a 200-foot-wide break in the 17th Street Canal Levee in New Orleans, which is slowly flooding the whole city, according to most reports. Huge 3,000-pound sand bags are currently being airlifted to try to stop the rush of water in that area, but the government is expecting the water to continue until it reaches lake level.

The city is 80 percent under water, in some places 20 feet deep, and because the city is below sea level, the water is rising, not receding. I can't even imagine what would be going on down there if this hurricane was a direct hit on the city instead of veering east at the last possible minute. Check out this unbelievable helicopter footage of New Orleans under water, courtesy of WGNO-TV.

A reporter from that network also reported on CNN's air about an hour ago that a man jumped from the second balcony of the Superdome to his death. It must be horrible down there. Sadly, he's one of the hundreds of lives lost over the past two days on the Gulf Coast (though I generally have little sympathy for suicide victims).

So to make up for my questionable Hurricane Katrina/Phish setlist post from yesterday, and to try and do my part as a concerned citizen unaffected by this disaster, here are some places to make donations to the disaster relief effort, if you so choose:

American Red Cross Effort
FEMA's list of many other places to donate

Do your part, let's help out some folks out so they can clean this shit up and I can finally make it to Jazzfest next year.

**And an enormous heap of praise for the US Coast Guard...if anyone's watching CNN (or maybe other channels have it), these guys are riding around in helicopters and plucking stranded people from their rooves. I just heard they've rescued at least 1,200 people so far. It's amazing to watch -- out of tragedy comes heroism.**


At 8:23 AM, Anonymous K Wynn said...

I'm sure the outpouring of support from around the world will be overwhelming.

I can picture Sir Bob Geldof feverishly organizing Live 9 right now.


At 8:39 AM, Anonymous K Wynn said...

Yup, here is the start of US support from around the globe.

Katrina Should be A Lesson To US on Global Warming

Seems like everything is President Bush's fault. One day after Katrina hammered the Gulf Coast, German commentators are laying into the US for its stubborn attitude to global warming and Kyoto.


NY Times
Kenneth Chang
Storms Vary With Cycles, Experts Say

Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming.

But that is not the case, scientists say. Instead, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught "is very much natural," said William M. Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who issues forecasts for the hurricane season.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

It's weird, I'm not expecting cash or anything, but I haven't heard a lick about global support from France and Germany and all the countries that criticized us after our support of tsunami victims.

I honestly don't know, I'm not being snarky -- are these guys showing any sympathy for us and pledging support or are they sitting quiet?


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