Saturday, September 03, 2005


This little girl's name is Katrina, I'd guess. I don't know her, but found the pic in a Google image search under "katrina". I don't know any of the people caught up in the tradegy which is Katrina the hurricane. And there are plenty of people who have blogged, editorialised, written, spoken, preached and discussed the whole epidode, so whatever I have to offer is admittedly redundant, probably unnecessary, and can only be acknowledged as ignorant opinion based only on "what I read in the papers". But it is the freedom if not the purpose of having a blog that we can express our views, prejudices, reflections and occasional insights. So here goes....

My mother, in Arkansas, sent me the following email she got a couple of days ago from a New Zealand correspondent: "I am sitting here in disbelief. People dying from neglect in the USA. I am so sad and so angry on behalf of all those who are suffering so terribly.Its like a third world scene as they show the pictures on the TV. We have had telly interviews from five Kiwis. Three travellers and two residents - one from Biloxie and one from New Orleans. The ex pat Kiwi from Biloxie says its far worse than being shown on TV. He says bodies are everywhere. He said its 100 times worse than what we are seeing. We have young travellers holed up in a mall. They were unable to get out. They said they cannot believe it. We do not have a gun culture so they say they feel they are trapped in a movie that is playing in 3D before their eyes. They hope they survive to make it home.
I emailed our Foreign minister the other day to ask what we were going to do. I nearly died when I got an email back from him personally outlining all they had done with offering help. Bush does not seem to have taken up anyones offers yet. Australia and NZ have great expertise in forensic science at disaster scenes. They will need scientists as the bodies will be decaying at a remarkable rate in that heat. Our team led the International team in Indonesia for the identification of victims. We have also offered search and rescue teams and teams for helping in the ensuing clean up when the water has gone.
We have an election in 17 days. The far right and the sitting Govt are neck and neck. people have short memories they have forgotten the misery of the late eighties and up to 1998. They see the word tax cuts for all and get sucked in. They don't realise they will be using the tax cuts to pay for the programs that will now be cut to finance the borrowing needed for the tax cuts. However all this is nothing compared to the suffering in New Orleans and surrounding areas. However it does show what happens when tax cuts prevent essential training for just such an emergency. We can look forward to more of the same if our far right get in. Heaven help us all! Mr Bush should realise there are tourists trapped in New Orleans and they will go home and tell it as it is. It will hit the international press. He will not be able to hide from the world what is going on right now in New Orleans. I hope you are Sparky are doing OK. Thanks for all the information you are sending me from time to time. Kind Regards"

To file under the category of LIFE MUST GO ON, one screen jockey kept a log of his daily routine whilst Katrina did her dirty work, which has been reported under the title "Trading Through Katrina". Appreciating that life does indeed go on, I was nevertheless somehow upset that it would be that way. You can see my comment response to the post on that blog by clicking that link and chasing up my "Heartless mother" post

To file under the category THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING, in the Australia folder, I refer you to the following coverage in today's SMH:

>> The front page story was headlined Fury as America fails its own. "American bewilderment has turned to fury as the richest nation on earth fails to rescue its own people from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, which has left scenes of anarchy and Third World desperation...."

>> The News Review section feature article was headlined America 2005. "This wasn't Haiti, with its intractable politics and its sub-Dickensian levels of poverty. Neither was it Bangladesh after the inundation of the monsoon, with its images of water - rank and teeming and not going anywhere.
This wasn't some place distant and foreign, like Iran after one of its killer earthquakes, leaving nothing but rubble and a few dazed victims. It wasn't some nation in Africa that no one has heard of, where locals wander alongside an empty concrete highway, their destination anywhere else.
It wasn't even some post-apocalypse schlockbuster in which Kurt Russell saves the blonde and the little girl.
Rather, this was America in 2005, contemplating the physical, economic and emotional wreckage left by Katrina, a category-three, 205kmh hurricane that devastated parts of three states on Monday.
Beyond the destruction of houses, lives and infrastructure, the US saw something even more disturbing about itself and its various levels of government: disorganised and distracted; over-budget and underfunded; unable to take care of its own; unwilling to make even the most basic of preparations to protect a historic and beloved city...."

>> The Business&Money setion was headlined Ripple Effect. "It's easy to think the full impact of the oil crisis is half a world away, where American motorists are paying double what they were three years ago for petrol, after the Gulf Coast was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
But the implications are far more global, and more complicated, than that. The most acute economic impact is being felt closer to home.
It is being felt by people such as Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, for example, whose year-old government faces a choice between ending fuel subsidies and risking serious political instability, on the one hand, and fiscal bankruptcy and a return to financial crisis on the other.
In Thailand, fuel costs are choking the economy and growth forecasts have been slashed by half. And high oil prices are forcing China's state-owned companies to start shopping for foreign oilfields, sparking new Sino-US rivalries.
Analysts are wondering how the world will be changed by the transfer of an extra $US100 billion ($130 billion) in oil payments from the West, Asia, eastern Europe and Africa to the Middle East and Central Asia.
And this week's record New York oil price of $US70.85 a barrel has probably arrested the global hike of higher interest rates as the US and China, the world's two great growth engines, face their most serious economic tests in years.
In Australia, where record petrol prices have thus far been greeted by an eerie calm, financial markets are flirting with the thought that this oil crisis will lead to a crunch for commodity prices, after an initial surge - as has happened with oil shocks that have gone before...."

>> And other articles that stood out are:
Red tape hinders efforts to help stranded tourists
World pledges aid to victims
A city lost, a family saved
Hurricane is God's work: Christian extremists



Blogger Rex said...

Nice post GS

5 September 2005 at 8:51:00 am GMT+10  
Blogger Guambat Stew said...

Comments noted, recommendations/links appreciated, praise wallowed in.

Thanks for noticing me.

That's Stew; Guambat Stew....

5 September 2005 at 12:15:00 pm GMT+10  

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