Thursday, September 01, 2005

Psalm 46: 1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be
carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake
with its swelling.

There are a million people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who are homeless now. There are roughly 300,000 people still stuck in New Orleans, without food, water, or shelter. Without restrooms, air conditioning, medical attention. With raw sewage, mosquitoes, alligators, floating dead bodies. Fires raging underwater. It's awful to look at on the t.v. and on the computer, but can you imagine the smell?

Those people are desperate. Frantic for food, water, dry clothing, diapers and formula for the children, medical care for the elderly. Those who are left are, by and large, the poorest inhabitants of a poor city. Panic, fear and opportunity have made them bold and reckless, looting stores and businesses - for necessities, sure, but also for jewelry, electronics, beer. This evening I saw on the news a group of people being arrested for stealing a beer truck to haul all of their loot out of town.

I try to imagine it . . . living on an interstate overpass with nothing but the clothes on my back, no bedding, no food, no water, no toilet, no shelter from the sun. Dead people covered with sheets and blankets, starting to decompose in the heat and humidity. People screaming and crying and fighting and dying.

There are so many people and so many agencies who are willing and able, ready to help the refugees. But first we have to get the refugees out of New Orleans. And I know they are trying to convince people to leave the city and that is one reason they are not making more of an effort to get food (other than MRE's) and water into the city. But it seems that they could drop off water at the overpasses when they drop off more people. If you can get thousands of busses into downtown New Orleans, surely you could get a Salvation Army trailer in there.

Of course, if they tried that now, an armed gang would likely hijack the trailer and make off with all the food and water. There are no easy answers at this point.

No comments: