Blog: Dave LeggettNew Orleans and Katrina

Dave Leggett | 1 September 2005

I'm not sure if it's really appropriate to say this here, but my sympathies go out to the victims of the Katrina hurricane that has hit the US. From afar it's been a pretty weird news item. One minute there's a hurricane approaching the US and that is frankly a news item with limited global punch because there seem to be plenty of those pesky tropical storms these days. Destructive they may be, but the impression is that loss of life is minimal and that places like Florida are geared up. Heck, you can 'hunker down' and see it out can't you? I think if I'd been in the US and a hurricane was bearing down I'd quite likely be one of the people in the hotel saying, 'what's the fuss? It's just a bit of wind and rain - get me a large whisky and smoke  me a kipper for breakfast.'

But the latest one, with its cute little name, has caused shocking devestation and loss of life. It has slowly unfolded like some sort of epic Hollywood disaster movie and I must admit that I had no idea quite how precarious the geographical position of New Orleans was. The ongoing aftermath in the broken city sounds grim. Those lines of traffic heading out of the city earlier this week looked pretty much in line with the shots we have seen many times before as hurricanes have approached mainland USA. There they go, we all thought, but they'll be back in a few days...what are those people going to do now? And how can so many lives be lost in something like this with all the advance warning that there is? And the US is the richest country on the planet...

And I wonder what the economic consequences of the disaster will turn out to be? For starters, gasoline prices look set to rise and not just in the US.

US counting the cost of Katrina


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