Science/Environment

Hurricane Katrina Kills 55

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But with as much worry about Louisiana, the 55 who died lived in Mississippi, the state who got hit the hardest by the storm.

However, a major levee broke in New Orleans and has flooded over 80% of the city, putting those areas under 20 feet of water.

Water poured into New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain after a two-block-long breach opened overnight in a section of a levee that protects the low-lying city.

Nagin had said that about 80 percent of the city was flooded and that some areas were under 20 feet of water.

“My heart is heavy tonight,” Nagin said in the interview on CNN affiliate WWL-TV. “I don’t have any good news to share.”

In the city’s 9th Ward neighborhood, rescue efforts continued throughout the night, with authorities in boats plucking residents from submerged homes after water topped another levee.

Yesterday, before the storm really hit, Shay over at Dean’s World had this to say about the coming natural disaster:

Two things. One, all the calls for federal government dependency. Various officials are on television calling for government aid and help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This may sound callous, but I don’t believe that it is the job of the federal government – ahem, taxpayers across the country – to subsidize folks in certain states who are stupid enough to continually build in locales where Nature clearly does not want folks to build. Especially when they earn more money than I do. If they choose to do so, then they should reap the full monetary consequences of doing so.

You’re right Shay. It does sound callous. Pretty heartless too. And as one of your commenters pointed out, I’m sure there are many who live in New Orleans and the surrounding areas who make far less money than you do. These are some of the poorest states in the country. Of course, neither I nor the commenter know how much you actually make, but call it an educated guess.

Another thing I’d like to point out is that we all pay tax money so our NATION can survive, not just locales which sit on safe ground. States are not islands and when some get hit hard, we all pitch in. That’s why our economy is so strong. That’s why we’re the only remaining super power. That’s why we’re called the UNITED States of America.

Shay goes on to point out that he’s okay with some instances of price gouging too:

Another issue, the charges of price gouging on generators and canned goods, etc. Most of what I am hearing being called price gouging ain’t so. Rather, it is supply and demand. When the demand goes up, of course the price will go up! If ya don’t wanna pay the higher prices, then folks who live in hurricane areas should prepare in advance. Folks who are late birds and were procrastinators shouldn’t pay the same prices as the early birds.

Well, it certainly is easy to apologize for this type of stuff when you’re not actually in the situation. True, supply and demand are factors that our nation banks on, but sometimes the free market system needs to be ignored in favor of our fellow human beings. Simply put, capitalism is not perfect, and these are situations where it fails miserably.

This is not to say that what Shay is saying is illogical. The points are grounded in strong ideology. However, I would gladly put the ideology aside to help out those whose homes and lives are being decimated by Mother Nature. It’s a small price to pay for national unity.

Here’s still more from the local paper in New Orleans:

As night fell on a devastated region, the water was still rising in the city, and nobody was willing to predict when it would stop. After the destruction already apparent in the wake of Katrina, the American Red Cross was mobilizing for what regional officials were calling the largest recovery operation in the organization’s history.

Police officers, firefighters and private citizens, hampered by a lack of even rudimentary communication capabilities, continued a desperate and impromptu boat-borne rescue operation across Lakeview well after dark. Coast Guard helicopters with searchlights criss-crossed the skies. Officers working on the scene said virtually every home and business between the 17th Street Canal and the Marconi Canal, and between Robert E. Lee Boulevard and City Park Avenue, had water in it. Nobody had confirmed any fatalities as a result of the levee breach, but they conceded that hundreds of homes had not been checked.