I would like to say that I hope all of you comprehend the sheer magnitude of what the United States is facing, whether you are in fact American yourself of not, but I can't. Why? Because even I am incapable of understanding the magnitude of this disaster. I do think, however, that it is extremely important that we acknowledge the event, attempt to impress on people the sheer magnitude of distruction whether local or international, and give a place for discussion.
Let me say first off that any statements of "this is a PSP forum" or "America sucks" or "This has no place here" etc. will be met with the new Zero Tolerance policy. I created a similar topic elsewhere for the tsunami disaster and have done so for other situations in other countries. I am an international person who happens to live in the United States and anyone that claims that this is not worthy of international attention is obviously not paying attention or not getting the right information. I ask for the help of my fellow mods to ensure this topic stays clean and on task.
Here are the facts as we know it right now. Over 70% of New Orleans is still flooded by at least waist heigh water. The Civic Center and the Superdome combined are still housing over 15,000 people as well as groups of people in various hotels...all of whom have no sewage system of any kind, dramatically decreased amounts of food and fresh water, and a very immediate threat of violence. Helicopters were being shot at by a sniper as they attempted to remove hospital patients. Police and military travel in "packs" for increased safety as several have already been shot by looters, a situation only made worse by the fact that stores with guns have been robbed and cleaned out now. On top of this, there seems to be a severe lack of infrastructure as well as a total lack of communication, resulting in a feeling of complete abandonment and lack of control. Helicopters that fly constantly overhead do nothing to aid this. And yet, it's not just New Orleans.
The entire Gulf Coast has been shattered. Biloxi and the hundreds of scattered town in Missouri might as well not even exist at this point. The devestation is so spread out over such an area that it can be staggering to even think of where to start the job of rescuing and repairing. A sadly delayed joint response from the government, liberals and republicans alike, has not helped that case any. Supplies are dwindling and, for lack of a more gentle way of phrasing it, people are dying quickly at this point. And the weather isn't helping.
It's raining in New Orleans right now...a supply of fresh water but a hindrance for any kind of rescue operation. In an already flooded city, any bit of water is a bad thing. It provides shelter for those who seek to do violence and hinders the visibility of those looking to help. It is, in the absolute most extreme sense of the word, an absolute and total disaster. Catastrophic destruction defined.
If you are looking to help, first and foremost do NOT go there. If you have no reason to be there, stay away. This is not the time to be practicing your skills at rubber necking. Contact the Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org and offer a donation if you can...make sure that you specify that the donation is for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Also, contact your local representatives, if you live in the US, and urge them to continue to push the effort for coordination and the distribution of supplies, as well as the saving of the refugees along the Gulf Coast. If you're international, I don't really know what your options are for helping, I'm afraid.
This problem can not be understated and it is already being felt across the entire nation. People are wondering if they will be able to fill up their cars next month. People are wondering how they are going to afford filling up their cars this week when the price is double what was budgeted. People are wondering if their friends and families are alive. Most of all, people are wondering what is going to come next...and that is a question no one knows the answer to. If you're religious, pray. If you're not, hope. Regardless, at least find it in yourself to care.
Please discuss, but if it is not civil and relevant, you will deal with the consequences.