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A little rain and slight wind expected the next few days...

Janet Pole | Interrobang | Opinion | September 12th, 2005

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
Like many others (at least in my age bracket and up) I have spent the last few days glued to the television (and no, it is not because my personal favourite sexpot Anderson Cooper from CNN has been on an awful lot!). It was because of a girl named Katrina —- a hurricane that punched a whollop of a messy, wet, hole into my beloved city of New Orleans.

They knew it was coming, they knew it was going to be bad: they just never dreamt beyond their wildest dreams it was going to be THIS BAD, Last year, Dubya (Sorry, President George Walker Bush) was asked to reinforce the levees that surround New Orleans and the Mississippi and decided to slide the money over to Homeland Security. Sure, a big mistake in the end but who knew it could ever have been THIS BAD?

And the state of Mississippi was hit just as hard: while online viewing photos of this devastating event, I saw a heart touching shot of a nurse and doctor, exhausted and comforting each other during a crazy day tending to victims of the storms. They are angels on the earth, for sure — especially since they both knew that Katrina had destroyed their homes. Dedication, commitment, loyalty and perseverance are only a few words to describe their willingness to stay on the job instead of leaving and going to what was “home” to see if anything was salvageable. I cannot even imagine how it would feel like, as most readers would agree too, I hope.

Tens of thousands of people spent the storm huddled in the Superdome with no air-conditioning and clogged plumbing, and are now being transported to another “safe place” where they could easily be living in the now unused Astrodome for six months. School buses are lined up to take them there, but there are actually people fighting with guns and fisticuffs to be sure to get on that bus FIRST. Women and children are being thrown on the ground by stronger and more able citizens who want to make sure that THEY get on a bus and the hell out of there FIRST. That is not the friendly Southern Manners I grew up with. Is six months in another arena better than living in devastation, where water is becoming contaminated, food is scarce, fresh water is almost nowhere and former neighbours brandishing weapons are now law?

The looting on Canal Street for blue jeans and designer shirts was disgusting and pathetic. But when you see a mother break in and “loot” diapers and baby food, or a backhoe being used to break down a store front so people can get water, food and ice, you need to ask yourself, who the hell is in charge here and why is no one helping the hundreds of thousands of people who are homeless, stuck in feet of filthy water and have no idea when, or IF, help is going to arrive?

It harkens back to 9/11 — those living away from Mississippi and New Orleans are in agony, unable to reach relatives since phone and Internet services have been destroyed. The sight of dead body after dead body being taken away until it can hopefully be identified, trusting there are relatives still alive to identify them. This storm was an unselective killer: old, young, black, white, rich, poor: Katrina did not give a shit. Anybody was hers, all hers to scoop up and take away. And nobody is going to land in Oz; this story has no Dorothy and the little dog Toto, there is no wonderful life in the end.

Every governmental agency is going to blame each other in the end; a full-blown game of the usual “he said/she said” is on its way. But the cold hard facts remain that there are millions of people sick, dying, hungry, dehydrated and in great need of help. If you feel that you can help in any way, The Red Cross is taking donations for the victims of Katrina. So have one less drink at the pub one night and take the money down to them. If everyone on campus did that, we could help a lot of people who deserve it. How would you like this to happen to you?

This column is written in dedication to all of those who lost who much in Hurricane Katrina: their lives, loved ones, homes, businesses, jobs, friends, and their sense of hope. You will survive —- a higher power, whether it be God, Allah or whom ever you believe in will get you through this.
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