Relief for Katrina's Refugees

September 3, 2005

The destruction caused by a class 4 hurricane hitting New Orleans was not unanticipated. For many of us though, the inability to provide immediate rescue and relief operations to the victims of Hurricane Katrina has come as a shocking surprise. How is it that the most powerful nation on Earth cannot get adequate shelter and food to the people of southern Louisiana? The future will, I hope, bring soul-searching answers and honest reflection on the lack of preparedness and the wisdom of rebuilding across New Orleans.

But for now, all Americans must step forth into the arena of giving -- of money, of resources; of time, of prayer. If you can, please give money directly to a reputable relief agency, such as the American Red Cross (more agencies). Tens of thousands of souls – perhaps hundreds – will be sheltered in coming months in stadiums and anywhere else governments can find. They will need food, water, and other necessities. It is time for a collective belt tightening in America -- it is time for sacrificial individual giving.

Even so, the world can ill afford for us to pull back from humanitarian aid abroad. We must not let this tragedy detract from public and private foreign aid, from the momentum for reform of international institutions, for debt relief, for sustainable development. Please look deep in your hearts and wallets, giving as you can to insure both adequate long-term relief for the refugees of Hurricane Katrina and continued support for disaster recovery and development assistance worldwide.