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September 14, 2005

Katrina: A Historical Perspective

John over at Anthropogene (a link button can also be found in my sidebar) offers some historic perspective to Katrina.

Some thoughts on Hurricane. Katrina, definitely one of the greatest natural disasters in American history. One would think from the shrill, hysterical and myopic tone adopted by our news media, that it was the GREATEST disaster ever.


During the months of July and August in 1931 along the course of the Yangtze River, the greatest natural disaster in recorded human history occurred. 3.7 million people perished in a massive flood. Entire cities vanished. Disease and starvation affected over one quarter of the entire population of China in it's aftermath.

John was unable to find a link about this, but I did. Click here and here for more information.

Once that benchmark is used, all of a sudden things start looking better (this is not to diminish the human tragedy, instead I seek to put it in perspective.)

It's not the first time, nor will it be the last, that nature unleashes her wrath upon us.

This quote from the London Times, included in John's article, sums things up quite succinctly:

"The surprising thing about New Orleans is not that the city should have been engulfed, but that it took so long for it to happen. Cities do not last. Those built in precarious places collapse. The rest are doomed to decay or suffer humanly induced destruction. It is only our historical myopia, which prevents most of us from seeing much of the past at once, that makes us think our cities are solid or enduring."

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