Folks on the Gulf Coast of the U.S. are going to need help

Hurricane Ida will hit Louisiana later today, and it seems like it’s going to hit New Orleans. It’s a smaller storm than Katrina was, but it’s also a stronger storm. A fair amount of money has gone into making New Orleans more storm-proof since 2005, but I have to admit I’m worried it won’t be enough. I’ll probably write more about this in the coming days, but in the mean time, I guess I have a diffuse call to action.

First, if you’re in the area and still trying to evacuate, check your routes – if the traffic is too bad, you could get caught out in your car when the storm hits, and that’s more likely to be bad than not. If you’re not out already, take shelter.

For everyone else, start making plans and gathering resources. Pitch in to efforts to get help to those affected, but more than that, make plans to push the federal government hard. Both Republicans and Democrats have a history of favoring austerity even in disasters, and I don’t generally have high hopes for Democratic leadership. Maybe they’ll see this as an opportunity to prove they could have done better on Katrina than Bush did, but I worry. Find your members of Congress and push them to call for ending their vacation early to deal with the crisis. If they refuse, ask them why their vacation is more important than human lives. Do it on camera if you can.

When it comes to things like donating goods, please pay close attention to what’s actually needed. Disasters like this turn everything upside down, and conditions on the ground can render some goods more or less useless.

Also bear in mind that we’re still in the middle of the pandemic, and there are plenty of people who still aren’t vaccinated. Many may be anti-vaxxers, but many have been unable to get time or access to the shots. That’s another thing that may be best solved through political action.

As always, I hope this post will be proven to be needlessly pessimistic, but with the hot conditions leading to a stronger storm, and the ongoing pandemic, I fear that every hour without action by the federal government will kill more people. Do what you can with the power you have, and take care of yourselves and each other.


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