Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.
When did this calamity happen? It hasn't—yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City. Even the Red Cross no longer opens hurricane shelters in the city, claiming the risk to its workers is too great.
If you're wondering what this is all about, well, it's a "tragically accurate" scenario from the October 2004 issue of National Geographic. They assure there in the article that "chances of such a storm hitting New Orleans in any given year are slight."
I'm putting this here because of many reasons. One being my interest in science and the ability of scientists to make accurate predictions. Another being the lessons we should learn with respect to these scientific predictions and warnings about the environment. Warnings and predictions the world tends to dismiss.
However, I am not putting this here to blame anyone. While it's most important to learn lessons from this disaster, be sure to know, America, that no other nation in the world could have reacted with the same magnitude as you have.
You had who to blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but who can you blame now? God?
So as you search for the guilty party, you are ignoring the amazing things you have achieved and done. You did save and evacuate most of the people, you did open your big hearts and your communities to your fellow country men, you did donate money and blood, and you did pray. You even took the time to care for and save your pets.
I'm telling you this because sometimes it's easier for an outsider to see things. Well, this is the view from here, and it's quite amazing.
Categories: Katrina, science