NEW YORK: It couldn’t be happening here! Stories and images of thousands of people living in squalor-like conditions without food and water have shocked the nation.
Looting, gang fights, beatings, rapes, dead bodies floating in the water, lawlessness and thousands of troops being flown in to bring back order are what you would expect in a developing or third world country, but not in the United States. But sadly it is happening in the biggest, richest and most powerful country in the world.
Hurricane Katrina that struck the Gulf States has brought out the best and the worst in people.
The best is seen in the countless stories of courage and bravery and strangers offering food and comfort to those who lost everything. The worst is the state of anarchy in New Orleans and now the violence appears to be spreading to Baton Rouge and along the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast.
The round-the-clock media coverage has driven home the point that natural disasters can strike without warning, though in this case the warnings were there. Much of the affected states look like war zones
For New Yorkers these images brings back memories of what the city went through after the Sept 11 attacks. But after the initial shock the resilient New Yorkers got back to rebuilding their lives and city.
People here believe that the same will happen there.
Once the initial media blitz is over and cool heads prevail, folks in New Orleans and other cities in the region will go about rebuilding their lives and cities.
Many look at this as a news story and while they feel for the people involved there is no actual connection.
The US is such a huge country that the crisis in New Orleans and the Gulf region hardly affects life in New York City.
The American Football pre-season games are on, baseball season is in full swing and over at Flushing Meadows, the US Open Tennis Championships is in progress. All these events are filling the stadiums. Despite the media coverage, people don’t really talk about the destruction down south.
But what will be affecting just about everyone are rising fuel prices.
Petrol has passed the US$3 (RM11.40) a gallon mark and is said to be heading towards a record US$4 (RM15.20) per gallon. Having to give up their fuel guzzling cars is something that folks here will not take lightly.
While media attention is now on New Orleans and the Gulf region, folks in the Big Apple have other priorities as well.
As one New Yorker put it: “We feel for the folk in New Orleans, but here in the city, life has to go on.”
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