Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest and the costliest natural disasters in United States history. Ten years ago today, 1,900 people lost their lives. Unfortunately, the hurricane itself, was not the worst part of the fateful crisis, but the lack of care and support shown by the government towards the people who were devastated by it.
The city of New Orleans took the biggest hit, particularly, its 9th Ward, that housed a large African-American community. It became evident over time that this community received very little aid because its members were predominantly black, thus the hard lesson learned.
It was extremely difficult to watch fellow Americans suffer and die in agony because they did not have access to food or clean water. It was even more difficult to see the bodies of the deceased melting into the pavement after several days of exposure to the elements and 98° of Louisiana’s sun.
Here is what we learned:
Do not assume help will come when you need it.
Many people died waiting for help. There are billions of dollars sitting in America’s disaster relief fund, but it was clear that it would not be used on everyone.
Friendships and Politics don’t mix.
FEMA director, Michael Brown, affectionately nicknamed “Brownie” by President Bush, was at first commended for doing a “good job”, then subsequently fired to help quell the growing backlash. So much for friendship! Who really was to blame though? Brownie was obviously a figurehead with no real power, yet he was blamed for the government’s lack of due diligence.
Kanye West was right when he stated that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
At a benefit concert for the victims of the hurricane, Mr. West criticized the government’s response to the crisis. He was right on the money and I could not agree with him more!
Ten years ago, Black America learned a hard lesson. One that brought us to the realization that, although we live in a great, big country, we are confined to a small space where we are forgotten.
Image Source Credit: blogs.sacbee.com; nola.com; en.wikipedia.org; telegraph.co.uk; renci.org; philly.com; upi.com; content.time.com; fema.gov; hurricanekatrina.com; michaelappleton.com; wunderground.com; huffingtonpost.com; defense.gov; westword.com