It was beginning to look like the worst had been avoided in New Orleans, but now it's starting to look like the worst is yet to come. Three separate levees broke overnight and this morning, with the end result that over 75% of the city is underwater. The flooding is expected to continue for as long as three days if last-ditch emergency measures aren't successful, and that could result in the disappearance of a major American city and the appearance of a major American lake.
It's exciting stuff, to be sure, but it's also going to be really, really ugly even if there's not a stupendous loss of life. For one thing, it's going to be an ecological disaster -- this isn't just standing water; it's mixed with household chemicals, gasoline, and, well, corpses. Which is going to mean lots of environmental problems as well as an overall shortage of clean drinking water. There's no power. There's no phones. There's no utilities. There's no stores open, and there's no trucks coming in or out carrying food. The total damage could take years to clean up, and the mayor is saying that it could be as long as a month before hundreds of thousands of people are allowed to return to their homes -- and that's if their homes are there to return to. A whole lot of people who can't afford it are going to lose their jobs, lose their homes, and lose all their possessions. Frankly, it's a mess.
The government will do what they can (eventually) and insurers will pay off the claims they can't get out of paying, but the fact remains that a whole lot of people are going to need a whole lot of help. And as is often the case, the people in the best position to give them that help is the American Red Cross.
I don't have a lot of money, folks. I don't make a lot of money, and what I have is spoken for, since I have a whole raft of stuff right now I need to be saving for. Every dollar counts for me these days. But this is about as urgent a cause as I can imagine; as tight as I'm living, I at least have a home and a job and I know where my next meal is coming from. People in New Orleans, a lot of them don't. If you're in any position to do so, think about sending the Red Cross a few bucks. You can earmark it specifically for hurricane relief, and even if you don't, you'll be assured it's going where it's needed.
And, not to be Mr. Nagging Cheapskate, but if you have any discretionary jack left after that, think about throwing it at Heather, Ben, Mickie, or Kevin in their fight against Multiple Sclerosis, which sucks worse than a hurricane. Thanks.
Er, MS sucks worse than a hurricane, that is, not their fight against it. Okay? Are we clear here? Cough up some money and quit parsing my syntax.