Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina Fails To Achieve "Worst Case Scenario"

UPDATE: New reports are coming in suggesting that the "worst case scenario" for the city of New Orleans may indeed be unfolding. See my latest posts here and here and, as always, check Irish Trojan's Blog for the latest updates.

As Hurricane Katrina passes into both history and legend, it leaves behind what may become the most devestating and expensive natural disaster in American history.

Tens of thousands, perhaps even more than 100,000 homes have been effectively destroyed. Thousands of square miles of agricultural, industrial, commercial, business and residential areas have been flooded. Power grids have been destroyed. Colleges and Universities closed. Public schools leveled. Water and sewage systems ruined. Roads and bridges washed away. Tourism crushed. Transportation and distribution of food and other essential products in chaos.

But it could have been worse.

The loss of life, while tragic, will be small compared to the potential worst-case estimates of tens of thousands had the New Orleans levees been breached.

In the "nick of time" Katrina dropped from a category 5 hurricane to a category 4, just before reaching the coast.

In the "nick of time" Katrina lost significant power on its west flank.

In the "nick of time" Katrina veered slightly to the east, sparing New Orleans the full force of her fury.

Had these three "nicks in time" not occurred as they did, we could well be a nation in mourning today.

Instead, we are faced with three Gulf states, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama that are knocked down, but not knocked out. Recovery will be long and hard.....but not impossible. Life in the region will eventually be reborn rather than cremated and scattered. In the darkness, there remains light and hope for a new tomorrow.

Insurance and oil-related costs will take their toll on all of us in the United States, whether we live in the effected areas or not.

But there is an immediate need for food, shelter, communication, electricity, transportation, public services, health care, sanitation and so much more.

Government funding and insurance payments will help in the long run, but the need for charitable donations to the American Red Cross and other front-line help agencies is massive.

If you are reading this, prayerfully consider clicking on the Red Cross link and making a generous gift towards hurrican relief. Or contribute to any reputable agency that you personally support.....as long as it has an established presence in the region.

If you attend a Christian church or are a member of any other religious community, speak to your spiritual leaders and ask them to take up a special offering for Hurricane Katrina Relief when you gather for worship or fellowship this coming weekend.

My congregation will be doing that this Sunday. As a Christian, giving out of love and compassion for others is neither optional nor required.....it is essential.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18