Sunday, October 09, 2005

Taking a breather

As much as I'd like to keep working like a machine, I can't. I took today off and crashed. I think sleep is a complete waste of time, but I understand it's eventually required.

Again, I'm pleased and amazed nobody died during Hurricane Rita. This says a lot about state and local emergency planners. They did a great job getting everyone out of here. It also says much about housing construction and most city ordinances around here. Finally, it says Texans are smart (those who left) and/or tough (those who stayed). :-)

My posts may be irregular until the infrastructure is more stable. They're doing a great job with power and communications here, but both are dropped from time to time as line work continues. It's not a complaint; it's a fact.

I'm preparing images for a massive post frenzy. I'll break the images down by story or area and make a "master links" post. I've covered most of Southeast Texas and some of Southwest Louisiana in the last two weeks (as gas and time allowed).

How many images am I talking about? AP carried more than 100 of my images in the last month. This doesn't include the days when we weren't able to transmit, or I came in too late for the cutoff. So, there's plenty.

Regular readers can also expect a few hurricane/emergency preparation posts in the near future. I was planning to write one after covering Katrina, but I suppose the wind spirits didn't think I had enough information and decided to give me more material.

Umm, thanks?

Nonetheless, it'll be good info for any PJ (and non-PJs as well). I hope nobody needs to use it in their own backyard.

Since I mentioned it, it's far better to go into a disaster area than to have it come to you. After visiting PJs had their fill of this, they were only a few hours away from freedom. When a PJ's hometown gets hit, there's no end in sight.

This is why I've decided to catch up rather than spread the images over time as is normal on PhotoJournalism. There are more recovery images coming. It's inevitable.

Although our disaster is sandwiched between other major catastrophes (hurricanes Katrina and Stan as well as the earthquake in Pakistan), it doesn't lessen the need for assistance in this region. If Southeast Texans ever needed help, it's now.

I like to coax readers to donate to charities and help the folks I cover. Unlike other events, nobody seems to be helping here. The Salvation Army and Southern Baptist Men Chainsaw Ministries are the only active national charitable groups I've seen regularly. Otherwise, the only non-commercial help this area has gotten is from their neighbors, local churches, local municipalities, school districts as well as the national government.

Fayrouz wrote a post about this topic tonight, it's a good starting point. I've donatated to the American Red Cross many times in the past, but its response has been substandard. The few volunteers they have on the ground are doing a fine job. I have no issue with the volunteers. However, I've seen how the national administration is handling this crisis, and it reinforces my belief that it's time for another secular non-governmental organization to rise and care for Americans in emergencies.

I guess since nobody died, everyone thinks this wasn't a big deal. Trust me, I still can't wrap my brain around the damage I've seen. The destruction in Sabine Pass alone was so immense that I had no idea how to shoot it. It was beyond any scale I'd ever encountered or imagined.

Stay tuned for a surge of images and thanks again for all the support while I've been offline.

Enough for now,

1 comment:

Myself said...

Mark,

Thanks for writing about this. I really value a firsthand account from the reigon - though you are bound to some sort of objectivity, you are close enough to be affected.