Hurricane Katrina's Aftermath

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Hurricane Katrina's Aftermath

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst storms to ever hit the mainland of the United States the scenes are reminiscent of last December's Asian tsunami. One official has already called this storm, "our tsunami". While the death toll will not likely be what it was in South Asia, it is still a major catastrophe.

In New Orleans, a city that sits below water level and needs a series of levees and pumps to keep water out, eighty percent of the city is flooded. Famous tourist spots such as Bourbon Street are under several feet of water. 10,000 people took shelter in the Superdome and now need to be evacuated because there is no fresh water or adequate sanitation. The problem is there is no place to go. Their homes are likely destroyed or presently uninhabitable.

Looting is reported in the city as residents are in a survival mode. Police and National Guard stand by in some cases and watch as stores are looted of essential items. There are also many cases of looters filling their vehicles with expensive electronic items. But overall it seems the majority are cases of people going after the essentials of living just to get by. The scope of the catastrophe has caught the city by surprise. It is not so much the water that came from above but the water that broke through that is causing the biggest problem. Water continues coming in as workers pour thousands of bags of sand into the levee system to plug the gaps.

Eastward along the Gulf Coast the cities of Biloxi, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama were also hit hard. Hundreds are reported dead or missing. Downtown Biloxi is devastated. It will be weeks, even months, before life returns to normal and the economic and social toll will continue to climb.

Disasters such as these bring out the best and the worst in a people. Looting begins as unscrupulous people quickly take advantage of the situation. Price gouging of food, water, fuel and supplies always take place as well. But by far the relief and humanitarian efforts of the government, churches and relief organizations such as the Red Cross kick in and do a superb job. Search and rescue units from cities across the country are on the scene to offer aid and expertise. The Navy and Coast Guard have sent in ships and helicopters to ferry and rescue stranded citizens from the upper levels of homes and buildings.

These cities and regions will rebuild. It will be a long road to recovery and some parts of life will never be the same again. But the economies will rebound with the generous help and assistance available. One Florida official said this morning that the real test will come after the television cameras have left the region and the nation's attention focuses on other issues, or the next disaster.

With the rising frequency of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico there is the inevitable question of what is happening to our weather. The nation has seen other, even stronger storms in its history. But it appears for now that the frequency of these storms is increasing. The debate about global warming and changes in the earth's atmosphere continue and will get a renewed attention from scientists. There is no doubt that warmer water temperatures generate more powerful storms such as Katrina.

Last December's Asian tsunami was caused by a massive underwater earthquake. Seismic disturbances like this are not unknown in that region. Population increases along exposed coastal areas added to loss of life. But there is a warning from the Bible about natural catastrophes that needs to be understood.

When asked what would be one of the signs of His second coming Jesus said "there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places." Natural disasters rising in frequency are part of the times preceding the coming Christ. There can be no doubt the meaning of Christ's words and the implications for society in the time of the end. Many factors within the human dynamic will aggravate and multiply the impact of earthquakes, hurricanes and other weather related disasters. A close look at development in the southern states of American and South Asia will bear this out.

In another reference to the disasters that occur Christ got right to the heart of the lesson to learn during any time of trial. In Luke 13:4 Luke 13:4Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think you that they were sinners above all men that dwelled in Jerusalem?
American King James Version×
He referred to the collapse of a tower in a city called Siloam. The tower fell and killed eighteen people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Christ asked, "do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:4 Luke 13:4Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think you that they were sinners above all men that dwelled in Jerusalem?
American King James Version×
, 5) Personal repentance is Christ's advice in the face of suffering. A cold hard look at your personal life is in order at such a time. How does it measure against the teaching of Christ and His word?

Jesus was always careful to help the suffering and attend to the immediate needs of people. He healed sicknesses, fed the hungry and gave encouragement to the emotionally distressed. Supporting all this was the basic message to examine your ways and change where needed to conform to the teachings of God. Our booklet "Why God Allows Suffering" will give you a deeper analysis of this important question.

We grieve for the suffering of our readers and friends in the path of Hurricane Katrina. Support in many forms is already pouring into the region. As you rebuild your life be sure to stop and consider the message God may have for you in this latest disaster. Time is short and it's later than you think. God may be providing a wake-up call for your life. Use this opportunity to learn more about God's truth and His purpose for your life.