Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Missing in Action as Thousands are found Dead

It's 1:45 p.m. West Coast time, and still, amazingly, not a word from our President. Not a call for prayer. No "I feel your pain." Not even a plea to Americans for donations of money and time. Nada. Just a big empty void where our leadership should be. I mean, I treasure vacations. I do. They're worth protecting at most costs - but not at all costs, and not when you're supposedly the leader of the free world.


Meanwhile, while the US media is silent on the actual death toll, foreign sources are surfacing the grim news: thousands are likely dead. There is no power. Food is running out. No one in the Superdome has had a bath since this started, and the toilets are breaking.

The mayor of New Orleans says a total evacuation is needed - that the city will not be functional for two to three months. Dead bodies are floating past homes. If they remain in the water they pose a serious risk for the spreading of diseases. So bodies are being pulled out when found, but no one is counting the bodies because they are (rightfully) focusing on rescuing the still living.

The stories are breaking my heart. So many homeless. Hospitals without power or working sewage facilities. It really is like being in a war zone.

The ripple effects will be devastating. How will this city, which depends a great deal on tourism and conventioneers, rebuild? Already conventions scheduled for New Orleans are being rebooked in Atlanta and other places.

The best that can come from this is a national discussion on true emergency preparedness planning. Clearly any city can be hit by devastation from nature, be it an earthquake, a tornado, a hurricane, or goodness forbid, an act of war. Who among us is truly safe? I lived through the Northridge quake in Los Angeles. I saw the main east-west artery of the 10 Freeway collapse, cutting off the major beach-to-downtown commute route. I saw hundreds buried in their own homes, and others whose homes slid off a cliff. In my own building, a penthouse unit literally fell off the top of the building. A newscast that night showed a reporter in front of my door, yellow-taped (meaning, don't enter unless you absolutely have to because it's not safe). I know the disorienting feeling I felt then, and that was NOTHING compared to what these people are going through. And most of LA was relatively untouched. Only a few areas were especially hard hit. New Orleans, however, was hit with disaster on a scale beyond imagination.

As I'm writing this, the news just broke in with the President speaking to the nation. It's long overdue.


Blogger Jim said...

Not to be flippant; but, I worry that the President has been busy in Crawford getting ready for 9/11.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

As I said, "President Nero." He's planning his next political move, disregarding real human concerns.

10:14 PM  

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