Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene is coming today. The last time the NYC/Long Island area saw a hurricane was Hurricane Gloria back in 1985. I was 21 at the time and a senior at Suny Stony Brook. We had a week's time warning, the school closed and if you were able to go home, you went or you were sent to a shelter in the area to wait the storm out. I was close enough to go home.

What I remember the most was not the actual storm, but was being home with my family. We had no power for a week and no hot water, but that was pretty much the extent of the affect a hurricane had on me personally. So today, I am ready. I have flashlights, water, food, food for my dogs, glow sticks to light up the rooms, my blackberry, wifi laptop, tons of books, and my fanfic stories. NYC has even taken drastic steps to protect us as well. For the first time ever, mass transit stopped running at noon today and all coastal areas were evacuated. I am a little inland, so there is a threat of flooding, but I should be good. I feel safe. I also feel prepared. I am ready for all intents and purposes.
As I wait for the arrival of Irene, it made me think of Katrina and the devastation. The deaths. The abandonment. And worst of all, our governments lack of action let alone pro activity.
The citizens who suffered through Katrina, who still suffer, citizens who had counted on their government to protect them found out that they had no protection. They were paying with their lives, literally.
Hurricane Katrina had devastated the city with its fierce winds, blowing buildings apart and causing major damage. And now that low lying city was filled with water from Lake Pontchartrain. It's was a major catastrophe in relatively slow motion - just like the US under 'president' Bush is a country in the process of financial, economic, social and political collapse.
There were reports that over 100,000 people in New Orleans were trapped by rising flood waters. The city was not equipped to handle a catastrophe of this magnitude. Police were overwhelmed by looters who have rampaged through the city and cleaned out whatever stores they can. Drug addicts were reportedly breaking into pharmacies in order to get something to substitute for their next fix. I would think that some of the looting has been done merely by people who are stocking up on food in hopes of surviving a little longer. People have been warned not to drink city water. Bodies were floating through the streets. Poisonous snakes are in the flood waters. Islands of fire ants are floating through the water. Gas mains were erupting from under the water. Fires were burning unchecked.
How was this possible? In our country? These things do not happen. But apparently do and most certainly did. There are still so many unanswered questions.
Let today be a time to remember as we wait out Irene with the hope that we come out of it unscathed.
The citizens of Katrina were not so lucky.

When The Levees Broke by Spike Lee

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