Hurricane Katrina August 29, 2005 The most damaging natural disaster in U.S. recorded history – encompassing more than 90,000 sq. miles.
Some Learnings • We are all Vulnerable • We are both Privileged and Underprivileged • We are all Dependent and Inter-Dependent • We Find Comfort and Strength in Community • We Must Live By Faith
We Are All Vulnerable(susceptible to attack or injury or hurt) We know not the time, the place, nor the hour. Life always hangs in the balance at any moment, and it’s chance that tips the balance.
We are both Privileged and Underprivileged • Katrina did not discriminate between rich and poor – all were affected. • But some more so than others. • The patterns of evacuation, return, and rebuilding.
We are all Dependent and Inter-Dependent • I need some electricity around here! • Why can’t they deliver my pizza? • I want my own bed! .... etc. etc. etc. etc. • When is that darn plumber coming so I can get a hot shower? • Are they gonna pick up garbage this week? The “least” among us give the rest of us life.
We Find Comfort and Strength in Community • Loneliness is an alienating thing. • This is too big for me to tackle alone.
We Must Live By Faith When you are staring at everything and nothing at once, only faith in God and the support of neighbors, family, government, etc. ... makes the next step possible.
Katrina is helping us here to better understand the suffering of our sisters and brothers living in underdeveloped countries in places like Haiti, or Nicaragua, or in the Sudan, or in Iraq . . .
. . . our suffering can become a form of solidarity with people who suffer daily in all parts of our world . . .
. . . we can now understand better the suffering of people on death row or undocumented immigrants, or the poor ...
and know only too well the vast gulf that exists between the privileged and underprivileged . . .
. . . we can understand better now the bitter suffering that is a daily and lifelong experience for so many millions of people in our world . . .
The faith and trust of the peoples of the 3rd World inspire us to live by faith and trust.
More than 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day. Poverty in the developing world goes far beyond income. It means having to walk more than 1 mile everyday to collect water and firewood; it means suffering diseases that were eradicated from rich countries decades ago. Every year 11 million children die - most under age 5 . . . and more than 6 million from completely preventable diseases like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.
It is estimated that with only $40 billion dollars a year the peoples of the world could have universal access to basic services - basic education, health care, nutrition, safe water and sanitation. This is less than one-tenth of one-percent of world income.
“Faith that does nothing in practice is thoroughly lifeless.” (James 2:17)
A Reflection “... unless we somehow live the reality of disasters, we are turning away from the cross of the crucified peoples – whether the cross takes the shape of a hurricane, an earthquake or other natural disasters, or of wars, repression, injustice. And we are turning away from the paradoxical light that can come from these things, and even from the hope and solidarity that can grow out of suffering...” from “Where is God” by Jon Sobrino S.J.
Ideas from presentation by Jim Huck, Jr. of the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University have been used in the preparation of this power point presentation. Matthew F. Rousso, Director Maryknoll Mission Education Office New Orleans, Louisiana February 2006