The phrase that would characterize the last few days best is "dereliction of duty". All the levels of government seem to have collapsed under the pressures of the hurricane's aftermath. From what I've heard, President Bush, Gov. Blanco of Louisiana and Mayor Nagin of New Orleans have all done little of what is in their power to minimize the human toll of Katrina before, while and after it hit. The heads of FEMA, Alabama and Mississippi haven't done that great either. The leaders seem to be doing more crying on TV (Gov. Blanco and Sen. Landrieu) and cursing on radio (Mayor Nagin) than actually doing something useful. I would have applauded the mayor for what he said, curses included, if he hadn't been incompetent himself.
The greatest tragedy of all is that this was avoidable. Nobody could stop Katrina, but lives and buildings could have been saved. New Orleans would have been spared of most of the current flooding if the levees had been repaired in time. Most importantly, thousands of lives could have been saved if the government had organized transportation and accommodations for those too poor to flee on their own.
Though the Asian tsunami had a greater death toll, the tragedy in the US's Gulf Coast has affected me more deeply than any other natural disaster before it. I donated $30 to the UJC/Haaretz Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. It's the little I can do from here in Israel.
Tags: katrina, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane, New Orleans