What will be the lasting effects of Hurricane Katrina?
Search and rescue teams in New Orleans say thousands of survivors of Hurricane Katrina still haven't left their homes.
The city's Police Chief Eddie Compass told reporters that a "sensitive" approach would be used to remove people.
As many as 10,000 people had refused to leave the flooded city despite the mayor's compulsory evacuation order.
President George W Bush has
declared Friday 16 September a national day of prayer and remembrance for the victims.
How has Katrina changed the US? Has it altered your life? Has the disaster affected the way other countries view the US?
This debate is now closed. Please read a selection of your comments below
The following comments reflect the balance of views received:
I am wondering how the sight of armed gangs taking advantage of such a terrible situation, might change the views held by Americans concerning their very lax gun laws. We can see how fraudsters were ready and waiting for this disaster, having seen an opportunity following the tsunami. What will organized crime have prepared for the next?
Richard, Deal, UK
The US government's lack of immediate action and disregard of its own poor and disadvantaged people should be a signal to the rest of the world. If the Bush administration will not take care of our own citizens, what sincere chances are there that the world's poor and disadvantaged will be taken care of by the USA?
Cortney, Columbus, USA
To say that the fault for this disaster lies at the feet of local officials is disingenuous. For twenty five years the right wing of this country has been cutting taxes and cutting services, leaving the cities and states to take up the slack, which is nearly impossible. Bush and his administration simply can't admit that they were wrong to cut the funding for the US Army Corp of Engineers levee maintenance program.
Tim Casey, Boston, USA
I'm here on holiday (on the West coast of USA), and I can safely say I don't think its changed things in the slightest. Yes, it's all over the news, but it took a while before people started to notice, and generally life goes on as normal. The people we have met are more concerned with how London has recovered after the recent bombings. Terrorism, it seems matters more than natural, but preventable disasters.
Jane Leahy, London, UK
The government might have failed but the people of America didn't. We are as proud of our country as anyone in the world is. Our government is not what (we the people) want it to be. You can bet your life it has changed the way we look at our government and the way it does business for itself and not for the welfare of its people.
John, Detroit, USA
It's alright saying Bush was slow to respond to help in New Orleans, but can you imagine us in England doing any better? No.
David Parrott , Derby, England
It took the EU 24 hours to get supplies to New Orleans once Bush had formally requested it. How come it took a week for him to request outside help? And more importantly how could they respond in 24 hours while it took a week for US teams to get to work?
DW, Chicago, USA
Bush leading the inquiry, that's going to be a fair and balanced exercise then.
Dave Thawley, Blackpool
In the USA it is widely believed that everything here is better than anywhere else, and there is little the rest of the world has to say of any relevance. At a dreadful price, Katrina has brought some humility and perhaps some soul-searching about embracing sustainable energy policies.
Nic Oatridge, New York, USA
Would it really matter if the US changed? From the ignorant comments posted here, it's obvious that we're damned no matter what course we take. Not even tragedy can beget sympathy when it comes to America. But at least our suffering has allowed the rest of the world to feel better about itself.
Amy Watts, Austin, TX USA
Mistakes were made. What's done is done. No matter how much griping we do we can't change what happened. The question is, what are we doing now? Are we part of the problem or part of the solution? The question I ask myself and I feel every human alive today should ask. What can I do to help? Am I a part of the problem or the solution?
Scott Moody, Tupelo, USA
I think that the US has not changed but I am not saying that in a bad way. We are very concerned and worried about the people in the areas hit and worried about the economy being able to take all the pressures that this disaster unleashed.
Dana, United States
The devastation caused by Katrina has wrought havoc on the USA that may well ask some searching questions of America's economic and political situation for a long time. But that is not to say that Europe and Britain would be any better placed to handle a similar catastrophe. And to even think of suggesting that the rest of the world has no compassion for America right now is outright foolishness. People in the UK and I'm sure elsewhere are horrified at the extent of the damage and loss, and our sympathies are with those affected and America as a whole.
Rich, Liverpool, England
Katrina's impact on our economy is not fully visible yet. We will learn in the near future that gasoline must remain at a price that allows our citizens to commute to work on a day to day basis. Unlike Europe the geographical setup of our communities is so spread out that walking to work is impossible. Public transport is also impractical in a country this vast unless you live in one of the megalopolis's. If gas remains this high small business is doomed and look for vast numbers of people to move into urban areas.
Zac Murray, Ada, OK
Certainly the initial efforts to aid the victims of this disaster were poor. I am certain that the ball was dropped everywhere from the local governments to the top of our government. I have been very heartened by the people of Houston. For example our church organized the inter faith council of Houston to provide 9 million dollars and the 20,000 volunteers necessary to feed these victims for the next 30 days. Here are Baptist working along side Muslims, etc to provide food essentials and spiritual support.
Hal Doerr, Houston Texas
It opened my eyes to how much compassion there is in this country for our neighbours. I had always believed it, but now I know it. People immediately started giving goods, food, money and time to those in need. We want to help those who are suffering get back on their feet and know that it will take people helping people to accomplish this. What other countries think of us doesn't factor into what we know we must do.
Suzanne, Dallas, TX, USA
Anyone who has been to the South knows that race is a major, persistent issue. Anyone who thinks that Katrina has changed this is just ignorant. The US has never pretended that race and poverty have gone away as issues, the rest of the world just never cared to notice until it was thrust onto their TV screens. The history of the US (indeed its original creation) was based on friction between different levels of government. If Katrina changes anything then hopefully it will be the stubborn pride of officials that hamstrings US bureaucracy.
I live in the state that suffered the most damage and I find it amusing how people from different parts of the world explain the problems and situations we face like they know what they're talking about. Everyone says that this storm has brought about so much racial divide and how it's all Bush's fault. Stop blaming Bush for everything that ever happens in the whole world. It's the responsibility of the local government to take care of evacuations and damage control. People need to stop making everything political because they've lost sight of what's actually real.
Tyler, Jackson, Mississippi, US
What is this gross misconception of America? People are helping from all over the country. Individuals, small businesses (mine just sent a semi load of 6000 clothing items). We are helping our own. The blame, if any, lies with the mayor and governor or LA whose job it is to handle such an expected disaster. They are the problem, not the Americans who are driving night and day to help, sending money and needed products. We are America, we will come through in flying colours.
Brigit, Chicago, USA
The resilience of the American people and the will to overcome total devastation is evident from the efforts of so many people. What needs to change is the general population's perception that somehow everything will be OK. Things will only improve if we in America understand that it is our duty at all times to think about the welfare of all our people at all times not just when a hurricane or earthquake hits one of our cities. It is time to focus on how to create a modern welfare state that puts the needs of all Americans at high priority.
Moez Dharani, New York, USA
The Mayor of NO has no authority to order forced evacuation without a court order. He cannot order a person that is not a public threat to vacate their own home. He cannot get a court order to do without showing that the person is a public threat. Even the governor and the President can't without the President suspending habeas corpus and that has only occurred once in our history and that was by Lincoln during the Civil War.
Joe W, Westlake, Oh, USA
Given the opportunity, some people will exploit any situation for personal gain. What you saw in New Orleans was exactly this. This is not the federal government's responsibility. They certainly expected people to be civil for four days while rescuing thousands of people across three states. Given the scope of the disaster, the blame can only fall on the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana for poor planning and incompetent leadership.
Ed, Tampa, Florida
This is neither America's tsunami nor a "Third World." The tsunami came without a warning, Katrina came with scientific precision. In the tsunami areas, we saw people mend and help each other. In Katrina areas, specifically New Orleans, we saw looting, rapes, and other forms of lawlessness. What we saw was the stark differences in values between the Third World tsunami areas and the First World USA.
Andrew, VA, USA
The federal, state and local governments all failed. The event that resulted in this catastrophe was predictable. The city was not prepared to withstand anything greater than a category three hurricane. The political system allows money to be drained from vital infrastructure projects by short-sighted politicians. This is what has to change. This would have never happened in the Netherlands, which has, at least since 1953, planned for predictable weather events.
David Ferrin, Banchory, UK
How has Katrina changed the USA? As with every disaster that has hit our shores, it has only made us stronger. We reach out to our fellow Americans who are strangers to us and find the blessing of friendship and good will in the shadow of disaster and despair. We must all take a few minutes to be thankful for what we have and to take what we have and share it with those who have lost everything. During times such as Katrina, our states have no boundaries, we are all American and we all unite.
Charlotte, Dallas, USA
It seems bizarre to me that some US citizens would prefer to complain about other countries reactions to the disaster rather than their own governments. I heard the Chief of Police say that Vancouver's urban search and rescue team was the first emergency service on the scene.
Annie Belcourt, Cortes Island, BC, Canada
The immediate need is to extend all help and relief to the victims of this disaster. Let the entire world join together in this noble endeavour rather than engaging in meaningless fault-finding.
VV Kurup, Kochi, India
The US's political culture and structure makes it more difficult for the national government to handled domestic disasters. The reaction was slow in part because of the three levels of bureaucracy that had to be penetrated (federal, state, and local governments). Getting aid to tsunami victims in SE Asia is just a matter of the President saying "go" to the Feds. It is not George Bush's fault that the government was set up this way. That being said, there are good parts about having a defused government, too.
Ian Smith, West Point, NY, USA
America has the best and America has the worst society has to offer. Economic segregation is a fact of life in America, as it is in many other countries. Disasters like this just brings it out into the open again. it doesn't change my view of the U.S. but it does remind me that economic inequality urgently needs more attention.
Victor D., Amsterdam, NL
What it shows is that the US is no different from the rest of the world. The super power that it is still makes mistakes. Its people are just as vulnerable to natural disasters and political games as everywhere else. Race has nothing to do with it. New Orleans has a population of 80% African American it is not surprising that the only images you see are of African American people. I do not believe that the Bush administration is any more racist then the previous governments who have allowed poverty to exist in their country, regardless of colour. It's about time for everyone else to open their pockets.
Tara , New Hampshire, USA
All the excuses about federal, state and local government interactions and failures are just that - excuses. Face it - the system failed and the poorest paid the price. The tragic results were clear to see on every television screen in the country. If this changes anything, I hope it changes for the benefit of those innocents living in poverty, especially children.
Katherine, London, UK
I find it interesting at the joy other countries have at our tragedy. What I see is the amazing strength of the US. Within one week hundreds of thousands have been rescued, feed, clothed and housed. We are seeing water already being drained from a city devastated by flood. I'd like to see any other country do what we have in such a short amount of time.
Jim T, NY, USA
Everyone I speak to is doing something to help on a personal level. My husband is a High School Principal and so far they have sent 6 trucks of water, diapers, bleach and paper towels to Mississippi. This together with $10,000 raised in 2 days. I have cleared out my closet to send clothes to the Red Cross for hurricane families coming to live in Chicagoland. Pointing fingers of blame is a luxury right now.
Joy Ferguson, USA
The US has always risen to enormous challenges, and this time will be no different. There will be a continued outpouring from people in this country as never before, and lives will be rebuilt in time. We are an easy target for criticism from other nations, which "comes with the territory" as the lone superpower. We can take it. We're not a perfect country, but our strengths far outweigh our weaknesses. We'll all keep our heads down and work our way through this horrible crisis, and not look solely to the government for help. As private citizens we will roll up our sleeves and ask, "What can I do to help others? How can I make a difference?" This is always the way it has been in my country. Government does not have all the answers. Thanks for the prayers and support from around the globe.
Shelley, Tucson, AZ, USA!
I doubt Hurricane Katrina will have any long-term national or global effect. What I think should happen is a rethinking of the entire disaster planning process. When was the last time any country in the world had to evacuate not only a city, but two states/provinces as well? I keep trying to figure out how you evacuate and take care of the people who inhabit an area the size of Great Britain without having any problems. People really need to check their expectations against reality before they complain.
Gregg Otten, Alexandria, VA, USA
Too early to say. I was in the southern US when it happened. Yes, the governmental agencies all went to pieces - where wouldn't they, so not so easy to heap nasties on them yet - but there were big failings. On the other hand, I witnessed an immediate rush by ordinary US citizens to collect money and help out, restaurants, etc offering free meals to holders of photo IDs etc. I have not lost my faith in the general goodness of the US citizen - I never had faith in government in a crisis - maybe this was the problem - too much dependence on others in a nation professed to be the home of the free (from government!). Let's all learn from it and help our cousins across the pond - and not criticise - we would not have performed better! And Bush did not cause it - for those who blame global warming, it was not that either - just plain cussed nature in that part of the world at that time.
George, Chelmsford UK
Parts of the US (and many other countries) have always lived under threat of natural disaster, and accepted the risks; or maybe they thought they had no choice but to live with those risks. How many people would move away from their hometown or state just because it was under greater threat from natural disasters than other places they could live? Maybe it's time all the countries of the world realised that we cannot keep forcing populations into these at-risk areas. I think increasingly changes in business and commerce, particularly, for example, insurance industries, will play a major role in shaping the future of whether people continue to inhabit areas at risk from natural disaster.
Dawn, Manchester, UK
I truly hope when the dust from Katrina settles that my fellow American will wake up from their sleepwalk. We are walking on thin ice bearing the very, very heavy load that is the American lifestyle. Katrina has brought all eyes back home (where they should be) and many questions are being asked. The tragedy has revealed weaknesses and vulnerabilities not only in our government but in our image of ourselves. It has also revealead great strengths, causing people to rely on their neighbour for support. I know many will never be the same after this, and I deeply hope that my country will also change for the better.
Kaitlin, Minneapolis, USA
There has been a prevailing attitude in the US for the past five years that everything should be privatized and outsourced to the private sector. This is particularly problematic when applied to the government agency FEMA, which has a responsibility that falls under the banner of disaster response. If people cannot accept the fact that that certain federal responsibilities cannot be privatized, then I am afraid that the US will have learned nothing from this tragedy.
Anon, California, USA
Everyone seems to like kicking America when it's down but it's the first country everyone goes running to for help when they need it. There are a lot of countries out there that owe the US a lot. I think we should all help them as much as we can in their hour of need.
Darran Kilburn, Manchester, England
It is way too early to know whether Katrina has changed or will change the US. Don't blame us if you had a false impression of America. I can assure you that we struggle with class and race on a scale befitting a nation of our size and diversity. And please, stop making comparisons between the behaviours of Katrina victims vs. Tsunami victims. People are really the same all over the world. However, some just have a lot more TV cameras pointed at them.
Paul C. Melstrom, Eau Claire, WI, USA
I think the botched relief efforts of Katrina has changed how citizens view the effectiveness of their government and questions the proposal implied since 9/11. It hasn't directly altered my life but it will have future ramifications. The incredibly lack of coordination and communication between our local, state, and federal agencies must look ridiculous to other countries, especially since the USA is a super power. Here we are the liberators and defenders of democracy. But we can't effectively coordinate on our own soil an "action plan".
J. Fields, Colorado, USA
We as citizens of the United States are helping each other. We always do when there is a disaster. We have our problems just like other countries, but please keep in mind that we seem to be the first one the rest of the world calls on when there are disasters elsewhere. Will they continue to do so?
Jacqui Dixon, Granby, Connecticut USA
I am sick and tired of people who have no idea of what it is like to be an African American, saying that the lack of response from the US government has nothing to do with race. I wish some of you people would wake up and realize that the playing fields are still not even.
Keva, New York
For all who like to think that the US is suddenly out for the count, I'm sorry to disappoint you. Outside the affected Gulf Coast, life has continued on as usual, except for a blip in the gasoline prices and the intense fund-raising for the victims. To think that our nation has somehow been exposed as fragile is preposterous: an entire city has been obliterated while America keeps running.
Michael, Ohio, USA
I cannot understand the callousness of so many who see this calamity as an opportunity to criticize American society. Clearly, you don't have any personal experience in the US. As with any other country, there are good and there are bad. If you form your impressions only from the politicians, you are missing the truth and have my sympathy.
Steve, Howell, MI, USA
Katrina brings the true portrayal of how the US is emphasizing more on foreign affairs than domestic issues. While the National Guard is meant to protect the US citizens, and maintain law and order domestically, they have been shipped out to Iraq to protect the US interests abroad. The international community is surely wondering how this is happening inside the "Superpower, Democratic model". As a citizen, indeed I feel vulnerable in viewing the total chaos in New Orleans and the surroundings.
Rezwan Rashid, Dallas, USA
The lesson I have learned is that the rest of the world seems to revel in the misfortunes of the US. I believe we Americans should remember this fact the next time a foreign country gets itself in the fire and naturally expects us to bail them out.
Ted Miller, Springfield, VA USA
Perhaps the most startling aspect of the disaster was how quickly the American people appeared to spiral into chaos and lawlessness. This was certainly noticed in Washington, and is likely setting off alarm bells everywhere. To everyone else, it should be a wake-up call to the thin skin of civilization we all cling to, and the frailty of modern nations to large scale disaster.
Gavin, Victoria, BC
Katrina has definitely not changed the way I will reach into my pockets and support disasters outside of my country even though the US sees very little in return! Katrina has definitely not changed the way I look at so called "allies" who use this crisis as a mode for kicking America while they are down. So, basically nothing has changed for this American because I view all human life as equal no matter what nationality and also expect absolutely nothing from the international community besides criticism because that is how it has always been. Some things never change!
Zachery , Atlanta, USA
It's a natural disaster. No matter how accurate your predictions are you can't be 100% sure. It's not a matter of pointing fingers. We Americans have proved to the world that we are standing right next to each other in the time of need. We really appreciate all the help that European nations are offering to USA. It has affected the life of everyone in USA one way or another. But things will come back to normal. The response from oil rich nations like Saudi Arabia is very disappointing; the oil rich nations need to produce more oil to fill the gap due to Katrina. God Bless America
Raheel Qayyum, Virginia, USA
The lasting effect will be the Gulf will be rebuilt, people will move back there and life will continue, just as Europe continues after floods and fires. The poor are unfortunately always the ones who suffer the most. Everyone needs to stop the blame game, stop the "look at how the mighty US can't handle a hurricane" and just let us get on with the recovery.
The lives of Katrina's victims have been changed forever. Shelters won't house them indefinitely. Jobs are scarce - especially those that pay a living wage. Affordable housing is hard to find. Government assistance will cease when the media drops the story. In the end, these people will join the ranks of the 43 million uninsured and the homeless. They will still be poor. What has changed? Nothing.
One thing that appears to be changing is that our press has finally grown a spine. As long as the mainstream media doesn't allow itself to be spoon-fed by the Bush administration maybe we can have an honest discussion about the reality of life in America. Then maybe we can see a few other things change around here.
Kate, Madison, WI USA
The hurricane season has not finished. One shudders to think what would happen if the region gets hit again before it has a chance to recover. By the time the "Bush" enquiry comes up with who to blame instead of what to do to prevent this again, it could have happened again. This is mother natures wake up call to us all.
Gary Lister, UK
OK. So, to all you utopianists out there. Yes. I guess you could replace George W. Bush, end poverty, racism, eliminate SUVs and all the rest of the contributing factors to global pollution and strife. We could all hold hands across the world and sing songs of deliverance and love and unity. But listen, nature will still scratch us off its back like a pack of fleas. The geological history is there for all to plainly see - the world has gone through many periods of extinction. It will outlive the human race; regardless of our political policies or religious (or non-religious) persuasions. History is not a static event. History is now. This "disaster" is just one of millions and millions of histological events.
Dennis J. Williams,
We have learned that as an electorate, we have to do a better job finding people with actual leadership qualities and characteristics because when it all hits the fan, ideological consistency is meaningless. So I am no longer interested in what a politician stands for, I am interested in what they can do to lead.
While I believe global warming is real, those who are insisting this storm is because of it are ridiculous. Did you know this was neither the first, nor even the strongest hurricane to ever hit the US? I'm impressed you signed Kyoto, but not impressed by your total failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in your own countries. Your global warming hysteria isn't helping any of the victims of this disaster.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA
This disaster has revealed much about the US and the rest of the world. Many countries were ready and prepared to help, but I think there is a general feeling that such a wealthy nation should be better prepared, better able to help its own. It is being said that the victims are in a third world situation. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Americans developed a greater understanding for what third world countries deal with daily? I am personally appalled that this could happen in a country with endless resources. It is shameful.
Hopefully the US will learn that in order to get compassion, you should show compassion. Patronising the less fortunate is not the same thing. I am afraid though the partially harsh reactions will be seen by a majority of Americans as further US bashing, and they will continue to retreat in the direction that has earned them the apparent lack of sympathy they are now getting. I doubt they will start asking themselves why people feel about them this way, and become even more rigid in their "if you are not with us you are against us" stance.
Ed Karten, London, UK
Such a disaster would change the way people see their way of life and country safety, as September 11th did. Many are blaming Bush for it, but where were the local "Democratic" Authorities? Nobody saw them either.
Stefano Angeli, Cesena, Italy
It seems nobody knows that the US has a federal system of government. Unless another country unleashed Katrina on us, it's mainly the local and State's responsibility, though the national government can wiggle its way in. Stop bashing Bush - this wasn't his fault nor his immediate responsibility.
Craig, Washington DC
It saddens me that governments have no problem raising funds when the goal is killing people (war), but when it comes to saving lives, the task is much harder.
Steve Clark, Inverness, Scotland
Many outside of the US have no concept whatsoever of the scope of the devastation Katrina wrought. Many want to pile on our country and view us in such a negative light. This disaster will in the long run make us a stronger nation, so to the majority of you out there who see our downfall coming, I say do not even begin to write us off! America is still and always will be the beacon of hope.
Mark Mercer, Denver, Colorado
I cannot understand why there was such a delay by state and federal agencies in responding. There were clear warnings of catastrophic conditions following the hurricane, yet the most powerful nation on earth was inept in providing assistance. There are many lessons to be learned and many questions to be answered by those in FEMA and other government agencies.
Susan , Edmonton, Canada
Perhaps the US will now be able to focus more on problems at home, and less on its controversial foreign policy. Perhaps it can also look at Kyoto and its use of oil in a whole new light?
Graham, Cambridge, UK
It's amazing how many of you criticize the anarchy seen in New Orleans, but do you really think the British would have reacted differently? People all over the world have become opportunists who seem to thrive off crime and terror.
How many lives could have been saved if the rescuers had not been targets for snipers? Will the USA ever consider proper gun control?
Dave Harvey, Swansea, UK
While I feel terribly sorry for all those that have been hurt and lost loved ones and homes, I can't help but think this was handled terribly. At the same time, I remember reading that civilisation is only ever three missed meals away from anarchy. It would seem to be something that has been borne out in America this last week.
James MacMillan, Glasgow, UK
If I were American, I'd be furious with the government. How is it that they can send hundreds of thousands of young men to another country to fight a war, yet cannot send or spend enough to save the lives of their own people? USA priorities are out of whack.
Christopher Borycheski, Toronto, Canada
It totally amazes me that America has always been the first to offer aid and come to the assistance of those in need, especially during wars that had nothing to do with them. Had it not been for America in past disasters then the world would have been a poorer place. Yet no one in the world will come to their aid. It is proof of a selfish world that takes America's helping hand and yet turns its back when there is need in America.
Valentyna Thomas, Inverness, Scotland
Not much, Americans will still harp on about how the rest of the world hates them and how no one in the world tried to help them, when in fact many countries offered aid even before Bush did.
I am an American, living in Berlin, Germany and come from the Gulf Coast area and I have a big concern: Has anyone asked where they are pumping the polluted water to out of New Orleans? Is it being filtered? If not, there will be some major problem with the seafood from that area. Please ask the officials. Thanks.
Tom Williams, Berlin, Germany
If the ferocious hurricane Katrina was partly due to global warming, then more of the same can be expected and New Orleans should be prepared for more of similar calamities. Perhaps the US should start thinking seriously about its enormous responsibility for global greenhouse effect.
Casseyas Pierre, Erpe-Mere, Belgium
Accusations that racism has played a part in the delayed response to the crisis in New Orleans are barely credible. Where the discrimination really lies is in the lack of investment to protect the city from a major hurricane like Katrina. This lack of foresight will hit every American as the prices of gasoline continue to skyrocket.
Chuck, formerly of New Orleans
Nothing will change in the United States after this manmade disaster. We will go right back to destroying the earth in order to make money - the only thing we really care about doing these days.
Patrick Fitzgerald, Sacramento, California
I think Katrina has proven that the so called superpower America is as fragile as any other country in the world.
Leen, Ghent, Belgium
I think the US by now should reflect more on her attitude, and work with other countries to solve the many environmental issues. The US ha still not signed some of the environmental agreements for her own interest. US is not wise enough to realise that the effect have come back to them. Environmental disasters knows no boundaries, Katrina is a good example.
KH Loo, Malaysia
Given the increasing devastating effects of these storms and continuing pressure from the international community, will the US administration finally admit that global warming is a reality and they are the biggest contributors?
Jamie Marshall, Manchester, UK
It must seem ironic to many that a nation which can transport four hundred thousand troops (with all their attendant equipment) halfway around the world to attack Iraq cannot even help its own people on its own soil. The politics of the Bush administration have made the world's greatest nation appear like a Third World country. What an embarrassing mess! Let us all pray that the Mayor of New Orleans is wrong in his estimates of the possible casualty count.
It hasn't changed the US at all, and it won't. Sure people talk about changing things or play the "blame game". People will most likely keep this disaster in the spotlight for a couple of months, then the press will move on to newer headlines and the people will slowly forget. Most people already are forgetting 9/11. What makes Katrina any different?
Matthew, Sacramento CA
There really seems to be a lot of animosity posted here from all sides. Perhaps this disaster will show the world that the people of America are not defined by or are representative of the Bush administration or its questionable foreign policy but are ordinary, fragile people like the rest of us. Our thoughts must be with the survivors and families of the victims as fellow human beings. God bless them.
I've often wondered if a disaster such as this one happened here in the US if the rest of the world would come to our aid. I am grateful that so many in the global community were able to take a high road and see beyond political barriers and personal opinions and see an opportunity to help humankind. Regardless of what government and authority figures do and say, we - the regular people - are grateful for the extended concern and aid.
Come on folks, let's be fair to the US. I was as dismayed as the next person during the early days after the disaster and clearly the authorities were caught wrong-footed. But what's done is done. Right now, they appear to be throwing everything at the problem and when you read how many thousands of people are being accommodated by neighbouring states in a very short space of time, I think they now deserve some credit for their hospitality and organisational skills. The repercussions of Katrina for the US are going to be immense. I certainly don't always agree with some of their international policies, but they are a decent nation and those poor people in the southern states didn't deserve this.
Ronnie, Suffolk, UK
It highlights how fragile our civilisation is. A few days without services, and order completely breaks down.
We have learned that emergency and disaster management must start at local and state levels. We have also seen how difficult it is to lead and organise, how easy it is to criticise.
Jack Hardy, Miami, USA
Katrina has exposed fundamental problems in American society, notably the division of wealth along racial lines, the abandonment of the poor, the absurd federalist bureaucracy and the complete lack of gun controls. The US has been shown to be a country that does not care about its more vulnerable citizens; a society that values capital above human life and the welfare of the planet.
MC, London, UK
As a Louisianan, I must say that I wish the world could see what the rest of the state and country is doing to help out. As soon as this happened, we came together to start helping those in need. What many people outside the US (and many inside) do not understand is that it is not the Federal government's duty to provide initial relief, but rather the local and state government. Quite frankly, the reason this looked so unorganised is that no-one at local and state level followed the disaster plan. Regardless of what is said by the mayor of New Orleans, the fact remains that the he could have ordered school buses to go into the housing projects and assist those without cars in getting out of town. Yes, there was a breakdown at many levels, but it was a breakdown at the lowest levels that kept even the basics from happening.
Kenny Bain, Vivian, LA, USA
I think countries will think twice about following the US style of hands off government as it clearly failed when faced with a real challenge. I can't help thinking that countries with larger social safety nets would have coped better. It seems that in a completely privatised society there is no-one to care for the sick, elderly and poor in this sort of situation.