A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Of Hurricanes and Tornados

Hurricane Katrina has done far more damage than was at first thought. There was a short lull of hope that the greatest winds had missed New Orleans but then a levee broke bringing all the flood waters of the Mississippi into the streets of the wind-strewn city. The scale of this natural disaster is now beginning to be known to the rest of the world. Television news is covering it day and night.

Some human elements emerge. The historic town of Natchez, known for its colonial/southern past is helping out generously. As Natchez escaped the fury of Katrina, the townspeople are opening up to refugees. "They are us." That was United Way Director Kathy Stephens' simple assessment of the Katrina refugees now staying in shelters, hotels, churches and private homes across the Miss-Lou. This action is the first principle of Christian charity.

Another aspect of this catastrophe is the apparent "discrimination" of Katrina in destroying the homes and businesses of African-Americans by greater degree than those of others. Maybe this is because their properties are set in the less desirable parts of town and the flooding was more likely to hit them first. When a tornado (given no name, but now called the Birmingham Tornado) hit the English city of Birmingham recently, it gave a two-minute period of panic in one of the poorest parts of the city. And once it had gone, devastation was left.

A common link is the fact that these places contain people who are either under-insured or not insured at all. This makes the response of friends and neighbours all the more important. But how long can societies continue where on the one side the insurance industry is concerned about the perceived effects of global warming on natural disasters and the response of government which is increasingly asked to pay more for relief programmes?

The results of Hurricane Katrina's destructive force will show how we can help our fellow human beings in distress. But the issues of government assistance and global warming are now beginning to emerge. Perhaps out of disaster will come lasting good, but we have to get it right!



According to BBC News this morning 80% of New Orleans is under water.

Post a Comment