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Your e-mails: Hurricane Katrina



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Hurricane Katrina asked readers to share their thoughts about Hurricane Katrina. Here is a sampling from the responses, some of which have been edited:

My heart goes out to the people in the path of Hurricane Katrina. My thoughts and prayers are with them daily. I think American people should just sit back and think about what has happened to these people and why some people are so out of control and angry. And why they're acting out like they are. I also would like to say that people need to stop complaining about gas prices going up. You should be happy to even have gas to drive and oil to heat your homes. People in Katrina's [path] don't even have a home to call home anymore. That's a problem with people these days. They're selfish, and they worry to much about money. My money isn't everything. I think a lot of people don't know the real meaning of life, and it isn't about money. It's about love. How to give love, how to love, how to show love and most of all love our lord and keep faith. God bless everyone in all ways!
Phyllis Wright
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

I saw Mayor Nagin tell Oprah that she may not want to go into the Superdome because of dogs. If it is closed up, it has the dogs left in there that belong to the people that went through hell in there and could not take their dogs. The infamous "Snowball" that was ripped from the little boy's arms as he boarded a bus and the boy threw up. They need their pets as part of the healing process. If we can put enough pressure on the officials to allow the people that will not leave their pets to get their pets to shelter, they will go and there are thousands of them. In the long run, it will expedite the process.
Vickie Clark
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Ok, of course human rescue is the top priority. And, from what I'm seeing, there seems to be a prohibition against taking pets with rescued people. But I understand why people are refusing to leave New Orleans because they can't bring themselves to abandon their pets. When you have a pet, you have assumed a responsibility for its welfare and for most pet owners. These creatures become real members of a family. For some, pets may be their only source of companionship, love, indeed the only joy in their lives. I would risk my life for my pets. I know that there are several animal rescue agencies in and around New Orleans. At this point in the rescue operations, certainly some kind of arrangement can be made between the human and animal rescuers so that at least those who are holding out in lieu of abandoning their beloved pets can be accommodated. A little flexibility here, a little compassion for animals who are totally dependent upon humans.
Nikki Gramatikos
Monessen, Pennsylvania

Let me thank you for all of the around-the-clock, hard work you personally do in keeping the public educated on current events. However, I also wanted to make sure you were aware that according to New Orleans authorities, they soon may be directed to shoot to kill the multitude of former pets and strays wandering the streets starving, ill or injured. These are domestic cats and dogs. To many, they were family members. But with federal authorities scrambling to save human lives, the animals are forgotten victims. On September 2, 2005 the Associated Press reported: "The Superdome, where some 25,000 people were being evacuated by bus to the Houston Astrodome, descended into chaos as well ... Many people had dogs and they cannot take them on the bus." "A police officer took one from a little boy, who cried until he vomited. 'Snowball, Snowball,' he cried. The policeman told a reporter he didn't know what would happen to the dog." Why do I know where that police officer could have taken Snowball, along with other evacuees' pets, but local and federal authorities do not? I hold the media accountable for doing little to publicize the well-organized animal disaster relief effort.
Lora Merritt

So many thoughts come to mind. Having been born and partially raised in New Orleans, the devastation truly breaks my heart. So many of us are blessed to know that our families made it through safely, and remain thankful to everyone for the outpouring of love, care, money, and effort. Also, I am thankful for the continuous, up-to-date coverage by CNN; one of my family members living in Atlanta, watched in relief as she saw on CNN the removal of her elderly mother in law from an assisted living center by chopper; this was their only way of knowing she was ok. The selflessness of your correspondents there, risking their own health to make sure the rest of the world knows exactly what the situation is like, is truly remarkable. Praise to them and all of the rescue workers!
Oxnard, California

I read the story on your site about the little boy who had to give up his dog "Snowball" ...because the bus would not take pets. What are the chances of me finding this dog for the little boy? Could you help? We are not in a place where we can take any people into our home.. but we could take [foster] an animal .. Where does a pet in this situation go?
Amy M.
Austin, Texas

I wanted to alert you to the caring of people who heard about the little boy who's dog Snowball was ripped out of his arms when he was forced to board a bus when evacuating the Superdome. He wasn't allowed to take his dog with him, even though that's probably all he has left in the world. The pictures are heartbreaking --the dog attempted multiple times to board the bus to be with his owner, but the dog was ushered away from the bus, and basically left there to die. So many people were appalled at this action that a movement has started to reunite the little boy with his dog. A fund has been started to offer a reward to the person who finds and returns Snowball -- I don't know how many people know about it, though, so it would be really nice if you could spotlight the story somehow. I also think more people would be willing to evacuate the area if they were reassured that their pets could come with them and would be cared for. No need to compound an already horrifying situation.
Kari Seas
Bloomington, Minnesota

My boss, Lori Brooks, was so upset about the aftermath of Katrina that she took off from work and headed to Louisiana to do what she could. She took as much gas, food, and blankets as she could, and planned to give people rides and to let people use her cell phone. A few days later, after sleeping in shelters with evacuees who went without water for days, she returned to Charlotte and brought with her a mother who was bit by a brown recluse [spider], a diabetic grandmother, and three children, one of whom will not talk due to shock.
Crystal Genes
Charlotte, North Carolina

Former President Bill Clinton remarked that the federal government should follow Wal-Mart's model for assisting victims of Hurricane Katrina. But, the feds just don't know how to respond to the needs and plight of marginalized people. I just heard today that FEMA is issuing $2,000 housing stipends to Katrina survivors. Real relief would come by subsidizing housing, food, and utility costs for one year. The various relief efforts have leveraged enough donations to support every household of survivors for at least one year ($12,000/ family). It just doesn't make sense to subsidize expenses for a couple of months, when it may take a couple of months to locate gainful employment. The feds must take into account the surge in the employment market. Where are we going to find at least 400,000 jobs for all these people? To help the survivors requires thinking like they think. The White House and its subsidiaries are far removed from the socioeconomic suffering of the poor to understand how to help them meet their own needs.
M. Jackson
Tallahassee, Florida

Sewing kits and safety pins are good donation items. Parents will get clothes for their kids that are too big, so they can grow into them. Safety pins will help. Also, some things may need a hem stitched or a hole patched or whatever -- standard colors of thread would help. Legos, Lincoln Logs, Crayons and paper are good things for children. Games are a good way to build social skills with the other children in the shelter. Books are a good way for adults to spend "quality time" with the kids. Books and magazines for the adults will give them a chance to mentally escape from their misery for an hour or two. There is only so long one can sit around and focus only on the horrors of the past week before losing one's mind.
Laura Rheams
Austin, Texas

I have an idea that perhaps, if it got some public attention, our president and other officials would be inclined to consider. Idea: Why doesn't the government offer a tax break for every victim that Americans take into their private homes. For example: If I took in a family of three; then I would receive a tax break of a set dollar amount for each person I took into my home. This would encourage Americans even more to open up their homes to help in several ways.
Brondelyn McGee-Jellow
Pleasantville, New York

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