Oct 6, 2005

The Maelstrom

Everyone is still talking about Hurricane Katrina, and will be for months to come. The storm that hit home for me (disturbing pun intended), however, was Rita.

Rita made landfall just east of the Louisiana/Texas border about one month after the disatrous Hurricane Katrina. Now, as you may know from reading, I live in Eastern Pennsylvania. However, my company's division that manufactures the coatings that I develop is in DeQuincy, Louisiana, which happens to lie - you guessed it - just east of the TX/LA border.

Ever since we moved our coatings production there in the early spring of 2002, I've been visiting our LA plant 4 or 5 times per year. So, needless to say, I've made quite a few friends there. It's been really heartbreaking to hear all my friends evacuated out of their parish and forced to shack up wherever they could, sometimes whole states away.

Thankfully, Rita lost most of its steam the day before it made landfall, and the destruction was nothing like the eastern side of LA had seen a month earlier. Still, downed trees and power lines made the roads all but impassible, and the authorities would not allow anyone into the area for any extended period of time, even up until a week ago.

I'm happy to say that Wednesday last week, phone and power services to the area began to come back up. Most of my friends and coworkers have been able to return home, and as importantly for their families, to work.

Only one fellow's house was seriously damaged - that due to several fallen trees landing on his home. Everyone else has a lot of cleaning up to do, but thankfully they are able to resume their lives after a long interruption.

All these events get me thinking about people form the other side of the state. It's one thing for one's home to be damaged or lost, but when one's place of business or employment is also lost in the process, the impact is magnitudes more devastating.

When I was a young teenager, our house was heavily damaged by a large tornado. The thing is though, my father still had a place to work and we were well-insured. As such, our lives continued with only the moderate interruption of cleaning up and getting the house restored to its former state by contractors specializing in catastrophic damage. Not so bad compared to some. My thoughts are with the folks affected by these storms.

Addendum - I've been writing this post over several days. Over the weekend, South Asia was rocked by a devastating earthquake. Those folks have an even more difficult time ahead of them than our own mid-south. What is it about this year and natural disasters??

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