Propono (Latin): to put or set forth, to set or lay out, to offer, to place before, expose to view, display, point out, declare, represent, report, say, relate, set forth, publish, etc.

Thoughts and posts on a wide variety of topics: current events, family, politics, religion, culture, academics, science, technology.

Propono, ergo sum?

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Watching, reading, and seeing pictures of the devastation surrounding Hurricane Katrina in and along the Gulf Coast is sobering. Especially with a toddler of my own, reading stories of individuals and small children trying to cope with the devastation and lack of resources (including basics like water and diapers that we so take for granted) makes me feel sad, anxious to help, and somewhat powerless from my comfortable office so far away. I can contribute money, of course, but part of me wishes it were possible to be there on the ground, helping people get to safety, to shelter, to water. Though I don’t know New Orleans or the region, I know it is hot, and can only imagine the compounding effects of the heat and humidity.

It’s also caused me to think about how we view disasters and tragedies elsewhere in the world. So often we see horrendous things occur in other countries and continents and – somehow – feel a step removed. When it hits in our own backyard though, I realize that right now there are people in those other countries and continents looking at us, a step removed, and viewing this tragedy in a way, perhaps, as we might have seen theirs.

A British friend commented on two things: 1) he was surprised at how much we expect private corporations and organizations to step in and help with the relief efforts in place of the government (“very American,” he said), and 2) he felt the immediate response to the storm and it’s inevitable aftermath was not well executed. His contention was that they should have known a huge storm surge was coming, and perhaps could have been better prepared to respond. Not knowing all the facts, of course, my own contention is that a) most people had no idea the magnitude of the disaster that was about to come upon them (storm surge, etc. breaching levees), and b) one can’t pre-plan completely for any type of disaster as there are too many unknowns and variables: responses will be ad-hoc and somewhat haphazard because they have to be; individuals, communities, leaders, etc. have to adapt given the circumstances and do the best with what information they have at hand. Logistically, there are some huge problems to solve, and systems – both complex and rudimentary – have to evolve (some more slowly than others) to being working through those logistical bottlenecks (like moving 20,000 people from the Astro Dome).

I’m also determined to put together in the next few weeks an “emergency kit” of our own. We have most of the component pieces lying around in various locations, but this has reminded/convinced me that we need to aggregate the necessary provisions for an emergency in one location that we can ‘grab and run with’ should it ever be necessary to do so.


Post a Comment

<< Home