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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Millions fled as hurricane Gustav swept the Louisiana coastlines

CSMS Magazine Staff Writers

 It feels like it is déjà vu all over again. After pounding the Caribbean for days while leaving more than 50 dead in Haiti alone, hurricane Gustav landed as a category-2 storm just before noon this morning on the Louisiana coastlines. But Gustav arrived in a ghost town for most of the residents have already fled. The memory of what happened three years ago still fresh in their minds. New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin, has ordered a mandatory evacuation 2 days ago, and the population of the Big Easy has responded in droves.              Columns of cars could be seen from miles on end on both directions of Inter-State Highway 10. A reporter from the Jacksonville-based Florida Times Union daily newspaper reported that heavy traffic on I-10 has effectively paralyzed the road. Many people have simply gotten off the highway to head west towards Panama City, unbeknown that they were heading back towards the path of the storm. A woman who finally managed to reach the city of Jacksonville, which has been the home of hundreds of so-called Katrina refugees from 3 years ago, claimed that it took her 10 hours to get from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama—a 2-hour drive under normal circumstances.            Just when one thought that this year was going to be a clam and quiet hurricane season, the tropic has all of sudden awaken with its fury, unleashing dangerous storms after dangerous storms. While we are praying for a safe passage on the gulf coast, another storm looms on the eastern side of the Caribbean, threatening the Bahamas, the Florida east coast with a strong prediction to hit the Carolina coast.            Meanwhile, Florida is still picking up the pieces leftover from tropical storm Fay. More than 20 inches of rains were dumped on the State in a matter of days, almost what it would consume in an entire season. Saint Johns River, the largest in Florida, has been swelled beyond capacity, and a flood advisory has been in effect around the town of Palatka and its surrounding areas—some 25 miles southwest of Jacksonville. Sheets of rains pounded Northeast Florida last week, flooding streets and forcing dangerous animals like alligators and venomous snakes into people’s yards.            At the world Golf Village, an upscale community on the northern tip of Saint Johns County, more than sixty calls have been registered from residents crying for an invasion of rattle snakes and the water moccasins—the deadliest of all snakes. At the King and Bear community, residents were afraid that their children might show complacency towards the water moccasins commonly called as cottonmouth because when it opens its mouth, it looks like cotton. There is a strong resemblance between the black racer—a garden snake—and the moccasin.             Few blocks east down the golf course, golfers ran for cover two days after the storm had passed, when an army of alligators seeking for higher grounds invaded the golf course.            As we are writing this piece, the Louisiana coast is fighting the killer storm. We have yet to know the outcome. The only casualty we know so far is that of the Republican Convention set to be open en grande pompe this evening. Events had to be postponed while Republican candidate John McCain is trying to score some political points by portraying himself as “an American first and a Republican second.” But that too is being proven very difficult for McCain whose political machine has been spending most of the day fighting off allegations surrounding his VP pick Sarah Palin, as news reports indicated this morning that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.So, as we all are bracing for the worse, we only can pray for the best. Gustav MUST not be another Katrina.Hurricane Katrina Has Unveiled to the World the Deep Social Divide of Our American Society.

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