Louisiana and California: Destructive forces of nature continue to rage in the USA

Louisiana and California

Destructive forces of nature continue to rage in the United States

Freitag, 19.08.2016 | 07:30

Meanwhile, huge bush and forest fires continue to rage in California. According to the authorities, far more than 80,000 people had to be brought to safety. The strong wind exacerbates the situation, feeding many fires again and again.

It’s not the first time Louisiana has been hit so hard that much of the state is submerged by up to two feet. The images from Baton Rouge and the lower-lying areas are reminiscent of those after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. However, more than 1,800 people were officially killed then, up from 13 in 2016 so far.

“The Disaster Nobody Talks About”

Unlike then, the topic hardly plays a role in the US news. The devastating situation has been described by state leaders as historic and unprecedented. Still, the news when they deal with that Wetter deal with, dominated by the fires in California, the more visually powerful topic. Apart from that, there is practically only the raging US election campaign and the Olympic Games. “The catastrophe nobody talks about,” writes “USA Today”.

Days of heavy rains in Louisiana disrupted the pattern of disaster reporting in the US. It was not a hurricane, not a tropical storm, but “just” a huge, nameless depression with a lot of water.

President Obama on vacation

Criticism and anger erupted in Louisiana on Thursday, with the nation and its media paying too little attention to the disaster. The regional disaster agency acknowledged that the government in Washington would classify the disaster appropriately and act accordingly. Nevertheless, there is a lot of criticism on social media of President Barack Obama, who is on a golf vacation on the east coast.

Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate noted that while Obama interrupted his vacation for a fundraising dinner for Hillary Clinton, he didn’t make it to Louisiana. “Holiday or not, wounded Louisiana needs you now,” writes the paper.

In 2005, President George W. Bush was also sharply attacked by the national media for his initially lax and late reaction to Katrina.

Danger was underestimated

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited the disaster region on Thursday afternoon (local time).

“What we’re seeing here happens maybe every 500 to 1,000 years,” MP Garret Graves, who has lived his entire life in Baton Rouge, told Atlantic magazine. He said the people of the state were underprepared. Governor John Bel Edwards said that when a depression doesn’t even have a name, many people underestimate its power and danger.

At least 13 people are dead and more than 40,000 houses are destroyed. Tens of thousands are without power. Thousands are staying in emergency shelters.

Severe fires in California

In California, on the other hand, the picture is completely opposite: According to information from the “Los Angeles Times”, the fires destroyed far more than 10,000 hectares of the area in the district of San Bernardino. Villages had to be cleared completely. The fire brigade warned the residents to be reasonable and to leave their homes.

In the hitherto also hard-hit area, almost a hundred kilometers east of Los Angeles, there were first all-clears for residents. A highway has been reopened in the south of the drought-stricken state.

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