Vantage point

Thursday, September 01, 2005

It's like being in a Third World country

This headline, which I saw on sums up the catastrophe (or should I say, Katastrophe) in the South-Eastern United States the most aptly.

We are all used to cyclones and storms lashing Florida and the surroundings. Almost every year, we see huge waves, uprooted trees, upturned vehicles. But we are also used to hearing that there were hardly any, if any, fatalities during such cyclones. Advance warnings, mass evacuations, and good disaster management ensures that the loss is life is minimised.

Which is why it is shocking to hear the vast number of deaths caused by the Hurricane Katrina. Already the toll is in hundreds and the mayor of New Orleans fears that once the waters recede, the toll may be revealed to be in the thousands. It is difficult to imagine the intensity of the hurricane if it caused such a huge loss of human lives and breakdown of infrastructure in United States. It is almost impossible to comprehend the possible losses, had the hurricane hit a third-world country. Maybe the toll would be in lakhs, as seen during the Asian Tsunami.

As of now one can just offers sympathy to the Americans, who have been hit by a hurricane so apocalyptic that it has made parts of the country seem like the third world, as a hospital manager comments at the end of this article. No power, no water, flooded streets, battered highways, and hundreds, possibly thousands of deaths.

Here's wishing the victims a speedy recovery.