Saturday, August 30, 2008
Tonight America holds her collective breath as Hurricane Gustav, now a Category 4 storm, barrels through the Gulf of Mexico straight toward the city of New Orleans. It's the third anniversary, to the day, of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster to ever touch the U.S. The severe flooding that nearly destroyed that uniquely beautiful city was caused by an inadequately maintained levee, or dam, system. Most blame inadequate funding by the federal government for the breaches, the severity of the flooding and damage, and the loss of life.
Halfway around the world in a place near and dear to my heart, another natural disaster with a man-made component is unfolding. A dam on the Kosi River in eastern Nepal ruptured sending floodwaters into the surrounding area and south into India.
The goverment of Nepal has already apologized to India for not taking adequate measures to maintain the dam.
Already, at least 70 people have died in India and Nepal and that number is expected rise. More than 250,000 homes have been destroyed and a total of 3 million people affected. More rain is expected and rescuers are racing to reach those affected before the river rises again. In a reminder of New Orleans, people are being rescued from the rooftops of their homes by small boats and relocated to camps. With the lack of drinking water and food, UNICEF has noted the rise in the cases of diarrhea and other infectious diseases.
From the people of America to the people of Nepal and India, our thoughts and prayers are with you. We ask that you pray for us as well as Hurricane Gustav approaches our coastline.