Saturday, September 10, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Devastates US

New Orleans is reeling under the havoc wrought by Hurricane Katrina. It is the worst natural calamity to hit the US in more than 100 years. Thousands are feared dead and the city, which was famous for it’s below-sea-level altitude, is completely under sea now. The damages are reported to be above $100 Billion. The levees that protected the city gave way to the waves of Katrina and it may be months before the city can return to normalcy. May be years.
There were a lot of comparisons between the recent Mumbai floods and Katrina striking New Orleans. There were reams of newsprint spend on describing how efficient were their rescue operations and how swiftly they reacted. Not denying any of that. True, they have sophisticated tracking instruments, co-coordinated disaster management, and well organized local administration. It’s also true that our own BMC has completely failed to foresee the cloud-burst and take appropriate action. In short it was pathetic show. Kudos for their evacuation & rescue operations. The comparisons of this kind is totally out of place. Compared to their plight ours was just a minor calamity. But despite having all these, they failed to handle the aftermaths of the disaster.
This disaster has brought the worst out of American public. For so long, all the natural calamities, terrorist attacks and famine was just news for them. Now the grim reality of being homeless, being foodless and out in the cold stares them in the face. This has started with the terrorist attack on WTC. From then on, American public lived in constant fear. They were suspicious about everything. Now as the nature hit them savagely, the brutality and opportunism, so far hidden by a thin veil of sophistication, burst out. The looting and atrocities that is taking place in these affected areas are so far a third world stamp all over it. The poor, black-dominant state was in the front page of all news papers for the crimes that occurred in these cities.

What has triggered such an ugly behavior in normally content and easy-going Americans? The fact of the matter is, Americans were living under a false sense of security. That they are the superpower; they have the wherewithal and might to tackle every kind of attacks. The sight of that façade crumbling down in front of their eyes must have taken them to such low levels. There is no more security, no homes to return to, no money and some of the least sophisticated turn to violence. They are not sure they can emerge from this chaos alive. So a minority turned to looting, thinking of exploiting the situation, but it has a devastating effect on the morale of the average US citizen.

Another thing that contributes to this utter chaos is the shortage of rescue team and low and order is in total disarray. There is gunfire and rioting everywhere. Where are the specially trained forces to handle such situations? They are fighting in Iraq. 60 % of this special force is serving in a losing battle when US is reeling under the aftermath of such complete destruction. The rioting and violence prompted the Governor of New Orleans to issue a shoot-to-kill order to the police. He called it a national Disgrace and he wouldn’t tolerate any of these violence.
What about the rioting, rape and muders? The scene in New Orleans is one directly from hell. There are corpses everywhere, tens of thousands people are confined in refugee-shelters, and the total lack of transport and primary facilities must have provoked these poor fellows. They are ready to fly off the handle and at the mildest provocation, the savagery is out. This is the situation where none of your sophistication, your tenderness wouldn’t work. Everybody is in shock and not in the right state of mind. Surrounded by filth and dead bodies, without food or clean water, no connection to the outside, no wonder they are on the verge of snapping.
My heart goes out to the affected, and sincerely hopes to see their plight ends soon. But the Government of United State of America must understand that there are forces that are out of their control and they are not above the normal human being. When your own is suffering you don’t talk about killing others. So stop the futile wars, stop spreading hate and violence. It’s time to think about Love. At your plight, the whole world weeps with you. If you felt the pang of losing dear ones, think about the pain you inflict for millions of people, millions of mothers, millions of families. Awake and realize. Stop spending billions of dollars for killing. There is a lot of families out there homeless and foodless. Let’s all join hands to help them.

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