Over the past few days, my thoughts have been with the victims of the Katrina hurricane over in New Orleans, of which 80% is sitting under water.
The topic has been unavoidable when speaking to my family in Canada, who have been seeing every Canadian put aside their collective dislike for the American smug self-centeredness to help in any way possible the human beings affected by the storm. Everywhere else, the same thing is happening, people want to contribute and help in some way.
Even in the world of Everquest II, players are encouraged to leave their virtual world and go donate to help the only-too-real situation.
Just as with the Asian Tsunami, technology has allowed people to find out more about the situation out there as well as track family and friends. Tim Holtt’s Before and After photos are shocking, while Kathryn Cramer’s ever-developing blog entry gathering information on the breached levees helps us understand just how severe the storm was.
Events like this make me wonder whether Americans will become more in touch with the seriousness of famine and poverty across the world once their own country gets back on its feet. Will they realise that the conditions they lived with while in the Superdome strangely resembles what some people consider to be everyday life elsewhere in the world? Or even closer to home, will they start acknowledging the extent of the problem on their own streets? Two thirds of New Orleans’ population is black, and more than a quarter live in poverty. These people did not heed the call to evacuate last week, not out of apathy or unconcern about the situation. They simply were unable to mobilise themselves to leave a city where 21% of the population does not have access to a car.
Visit BBC’s How To Help if you are able to donate or help in any other way.