July 1, 2007

Tired of Katrina?

Are you growing tired of hearing about Hurricane Katrina? Unfortunately, ignoring unpleasant things rarely makes them go away. We who were affected by Katrina know this all too well. It has been almost two years since Mississippi and Louisiana were hit by this storm, and coastal residents are still struggling.

Problems such as inadequate housing and unfulfilled funding promises by state and federal governments are now joined by concerns over environmental neglect and privatization. According to Monique Harden, Co-Director of the New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights,
Now what we're seeing is our federal government putting together these government private partnerships that call for giving huge tax breaks to developers, repealing environmental and public health laws, privatizing public schools and other public services and healthcare systems, this is the -- you know, a nail in the coffin of recovery for our communities.
It also sounds as though the effects of racism, so evident in the news coverage immediately following the storm, are lingering. This, despite the "fact" that racism in America is really no big deal.
Just last week, the Army Corps of Engineers produced reports showing that after two years, roughly, since Hurricane Katrina, of its work to repair and address the structural needs of the levee systems and canals through the city of New Orleans, that no African American neighborhood will see any substantial reduction in floodwaters. Only predominantly white neighborhoods will. And this, the Corps projects, will be the case for the next five years until they complete this massive upgrade to the entire levee system by the year 2011.

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