Fearing The Worst From Hurricane Isaac
Hurricane Isaac Following Katrina's Path
The eerie similarities between the present Hurricane Isaac and 2005's Hurricane Katrina cannot be overlooked. The tropical storm has taken on the exact path that Katrina, the costliest natural disaster in history, used to ravage the gulf coast. Isaac is set to hit the hit the gulf coast today, the seventh anniversary of Katrina.
The effects of Katrina are still present and it begs the question on if we learned from the storm seven years ago. In that storm the city hit hardest, New Orleans, was flooded when the cities levee systems failed. Citizens of New Orleans were scattered around the country, namely Houston and Atlanta, while they waited to see what was to become of their great American city.
My own experience is hard to recall. I can remember knowing the storm was going to be bad and seeing the terrifying images of a city underwater, people displaced and houses utterly ripped apart by both wind and water. I was studying at Indiana University at the time, the university graciously accepted students from Louisiana's Tulane University. I tried to place myself in their shoes, uprooted and moved across the country while the uncertainty of your situation piles up on your shoulders.
I shamefully admit, I didn't understand the gravity of what was happening down south. New Orleans was under water, its population starving and dying all of the country. Families were unsure who made it out for months following the ordeal.
It is known as the worst civil engineering disaster in history, solely because the levee system was unable to perform the basic function it was set up to do. This is not to place blame or point fingers, that undoubtedly has been done over the last seven years. But it begs the question now, when something that catastrophic happens, measures must be set in place to ensure it will never happen again, right?
One of our greatest cities was destroyed seven years ago and the effort from both local and federal governments to rebuild it was laughable. If you rate cities on economics, size, population or any other measurable medium you may disagree with New Orleans being a "great" city.
However, America is not solely defined my such easily quantifiable qualities. Culture, music, art, historical relevance all must be taken into account and I would beg anyone to argue that any city in the United States can stack up to how culturally important NOLA can be.
What scares me now, ties a giant knot down deep inside my stomach, is the sense of deja vu I feel currently. Officials have promised the restructured flood prevention system engineered post Katrina has the ability to withstand another storm, but the Army Corp of Engineers made the same guarantees before.
As the Hurricane Isaac is about to hit, I pray the officials now in place, both local and federal, learned from their mistakes seven years ago and spared no expense to ensure the same mistakes were not made.
How Can We Help The Gulf?
Hurricane Isaac has been upgraded from tropical storm to a Level 1 Hurricane within the last few hours. The whole Gulf Coast is bracing itself, relatives in Tampa, Florida tell me the rains are horrendous. News reports are measuring winds at 80 miles per hour and in certain cases over 100 mph.
The postal service in Louisiana as well as the airports have been shut down. Officials are instructing the citizens of the area to take the storm seriously and evacuate if they can. The storm swirls and threatens to land right down on New Orleans for the second time in seven years.
Throughout this night the world will be watching. We will be following news reports on how intense the storm rages, whether it intensifies or breaks apart over land. How the newly made levee system protects the city from flooding once again. How the citizens of New Orleans deal with the storm, fear must be at an all time high after going through the nightmare of 2005.
None of us outside of the Gulf can claim to know what those people are feeling, thinking or considering doing. They are caged animals, afraid for their and their loved ones lives. All we can do is hope for the best to a bad situation and should this storm leave the city worse than before be there to help its citizens in any way we can.
I'll admit, I have not the first clue as to how to get involved should this storm prove destructive. I'm asking any reader of this with knowledge or insight on what people can do both in their own communities and down in the Gulf to please post. Charities, volunteer programs, donations, anything that can help needs to be referenced. I myself have close to four weeks of vacation for the year left and plan on asking for time off to help in any way I can, but we need people to raise awareness!
Our lives are saturated by tasks and chores, jobs and events, family and friends. There is not one of us who hasn't claimed to be "too busy" to help another human being out at some point in their lives. But if this storm hits hard, if it destroys both property and lives, we need to be there for the people affected. We all need to be there! We cannot let this city or its people die.
Please post thoughts and solutions we can use to help, no idea is stupid, help in any form, large or small, is still help. We should all pray tonight that we have learned from Katrina and prepared ourselves for this moment.