The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that ravaged the Gulf Coast of the United States.
It’s like something out of an apocalypse movie. While the death toll will never reach the numbers achieved by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of Dec 26 2004, the tragedy on the human level is just the same. There are about 16,000 hurricane survivors waiting for relocation in the local stadium known as the Superdome in New Orleans. Some have already been transferred to the Astrodome in Houston, but in the meantime, babies and the elderly are dying and have died of dehydration. There’s no where to defecate or urinate. The stench must be indescribable. There have been rapes among the refugees there. MSNBC photojournalist Tony Zumbado reports: “The sanitation was unbelievable. The stench in there… was unbelievable. Dead people around the walls of the convention center, laying in the middle of the street in their dying chairs. … They were just covered up … Babies, two babies dehydrated and died. I’m telling you, I couldn’t take it.”
What’s more distressing is that the catastrophe is bringing out the worst in people, with the reports of shooting at police officers, rescue helicopters and other aid efforts by people, looting and fighting. Radio scanners have also picked up reports of people firing on personnel in trucks trying to restore power to some parts of the city. New York Daily News staff writer Tamer El-Ghobashy describes New Orleans as the “City of misery, guns and despair“.
It’s amazing reading about the chaos that erupted following the onset of anarchy. It gives me two disparate feelings upon reflecting the aftermath of the catastrophe in and around New Orleans. Firstly, I’m thankful and appreciative for the peace that surrounds me and my family at this point in time. But secondly, I fear that if such a disaster would befall us, I’m not sure if it would bring out the best or the worst in the people around me… or even in myself. Without being in that situation, we’ll never know, and I pray we never have to know.
AP Photo by Eric Gay, from SFGate.com.