Wednesday, August 31, 2005

a city destroyed?

Over the last few days, I'd heard bits and pieces about Hurricane Katrina and the evacuation of New Orleans, but it wasn't until this morning that I realized the magnitude of the disaster.

I was skimming a blog post that made reference to "a city loved by many, likely to be completely destroyed." I thought for sure that the poster was exaggerating wildly; cities like New Orleans don't just disappear overnight. So, I started to read the news in earnest.

What I found out was that 80% of New Orleans is flooded, and that lake water is still pouring in through a broken levee, into the below-sea-level city. Tens of thousands of residents who took refuge in the Superdome and other shelters are being airlifted out of the city, while hundreds more are looting abandoned stores. Authorities are warning that electricity might not be restored for weeks, even after the flooding subsides.

Of course, there have been countless natural disasters more catastrophic than this. To contemplate one in particular: I wonder what the Romans thought (and felt) on the day that Pompeii was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

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