My thoughts are with the many thousands of people who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina; those who have been killed and injured; those who are trapped and need to be rescued; those who are now refugees seeking shelter and food; those whose posessions and homes have been destroyed; and the family and friends around the world who wait anxiously for news of their loved ones.
We should pause also to reflect on the bravery and selflessness of those in the services who are working round the clock to help.
FEMA has recommended this list of charities for those who wish to give donations; see also Stygius and Instapundit. (I personally think that in a country as rich as the United States, it is the responsibility of Government, not charity, to meet the needs of people affected by disaster. Should ordinary working folk on moderate incomes give what they can so that the Federal Government can cut taxes for the very rich? I don’t think so.)
The blogosphere has already begun to discuss whether anyone is to blame: cuts in investment in flood defences; reduced capacity of the National Guard; climate change. In due course, there should also be a debate about whether it is sensible to restore the city of New Orleans at all, given its vulnerability to natural disasters, or whether, like Pompeii, it should remain a memorial.
There will be plenty of time for all that. For now, let’s focus on getting help to those who need it.