Several bloggers are participating in a Blog for Relief Day today, posting on the Hurricane Katrina disaster to draw awareness to it and offering information on how our readers can help (see Terry Teachout at About Last Night, Drew McManus trying to help out musicians of the Louisiana Philharmonic at Adaptistration, David Nishimura on Louisiana's museums at Cronaca, Maud Newton on literary New Orleans, Tyler Green on the arts in New Orleans at Modern Art Notes, and the Big Dog at Instapundit who started it all).
We think this is a good idea, so lemming-like we follow. If you want to help out, we recommend Catholic Charities, which was already very active among the poor of the cities and rural areas affected, prior to the disaster. Do beware, however, of the scams that have already appeared, seeking to fleece good-hearted people out of money they think is going to help the victims of Katrina. I also recommend a post (Nous sommes tous..., September 1) by Le Monde correspondent Corine Lesnes, on her blog Big Picture (my translation):
Burundi? Nigeria? These refugees on foot are Americans leaving New Orleans. They carried a few packages and a bottle of water with them. Every day, the spokesperson of the State Department is questioned about foreign offers of assistance. Any messages of sympathy? Phone calls to Condoleeza Rice? Offers of help? Tuesday, the spokesperson had nothing to report. Wednesday, he spoke of "a few" offers of help. "From whom?" the press asked. "How many?"The comments on this post, heated and many in number, are also fascinating to read. The first one, from Esteban, begins like this (my translation): "I have one simple question for Corine. How can it be that the majority of people one sees on the TV in New Orleans are black? Is that the overwhelming majority of the city's population? Is that the poorest population that, as a result, did not have the necessary means to leave? Were they not properly informed? In short, are those in the media asking these questions." We're starting to think about that, too, but as I mentioned in this post on the coverage of Katrina, let's just get help to these people first. We will ask the tough questions afterward.
"A dozen," the spokesperson answered (he did not want to mention specifics, but France was among them).
"Has anyone asked oil-producing countries to increase fuel production?" a journalist insisted.
"Not that I know of," said the spokesperson. The journalists appeared stunned that the planet has not hurried to the assistance of the victims of Louisiana's "tsunami." A polemical argument has begun. The National Guard was not able to stop looting. A large contingent of them are in Iraq.