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One student’s reaction to the hurricane

I have over 60 immediate family members between the ages of 3 and 85 years old living in New Orleans who have been devastated by the onslaught of Katrina. Today, there are still four who remain unaccounted for, whom I pray are safe but possibly remain within the borders of the city.

I am deeply saddened for all of the victims; these are people for whom I share a common lineage and heritage of time and place. If food is one way to the heart, then gumbo, fried catfish, boiled crayfish are reasons alone for many to internalize this tragedy.

It is true that hurricanes are erratic and unpredictable even with today's technology. My anger is directed toward the way things have been handled to deal with this tragedy. The rescue efforts were latent, communications to family are still virtually impossible, and God knows why, four days later, people were still sleeping on the streets of New Orleans without food, water or shelter…

The longer these victims lie around on the street waiting for needed assistance on a global scale, the longer they're exposed to the health conditions imposed by environmental stress. Pictures of the devastation give us a surreal shock like this is fiction of the worst kind.

When President Bush arrived, like the wicked son of the Northeast, to many natives he and his entourage of winged media monkeys are doing nothing more than dancing in the streets while others lie dead and suffering under the house of Katrina. Congress is convening to allocate $10.5 billion of emergency aid for a catastrophe that is costing already $500 million per day. How's that for the myth of Oz? To wit, more than 64 percent of the population of New Orleans is African-American, the majority with incomes below poverty. Our first response as a society should be to do no more harm. It concerns me that this latent and inadequate response by the administration is a hurricane of a socially constructed sort.