Hurricane Katrina, Five Years Later


Today marks the fifth anniversary of the destruction of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina. As we are well aware from the news the past few months, the Gulf Coast continues to be hit hard recently as a result of the BP oil spill. What is clear from both of these tragedies is that the people who are affected most are the poor and marginalized, those who have little to no security in their lives. While Katrina has passed from many of our memories because we do not see the horrific images on the news anymore, there is still much work to be done to help people flourish in their lives in the Gulf Coast.
While Katrina was a “natural” disaster, many commentators have noted that the poor living conditions of the poorest people of the region contributed to the scope of the disaster. We must be careful in blaming all the negative effects of this disaster on nature, and focus on what can be done to prevent catastrophes such as this from happening in the future. Catholic social teaching reminds us that a society is judged by how it cares for its most vulnerable members. Anniversaries such as today remind us that we need to care for the poor not only when a disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane. Poverty itself is a disaster and must be dealt with immediately. Today, we continue our prayers for the people of the Gulf Coast and hopefully will commit ourselves to work for peace and justice in our world so that all people can live fulfilling lives.

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