My heart goes out to the people of New Orleans. The city is totally devastated from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and its going to be a long road to recovery. Much of the looting just adds salt to the wounds. I just finished my weekly technology column where I state the reasons I see some looting as justifiable. Here it is:
I am going to call it “justifiable looting”.
As the good citizens of New Orleans watched their beautiful city fill up with water, they must have been doubly horrified to have their houses and/or businesses looted.
But there is looting of stereo equipment and fashion clothing. And, then, there is looting of food, water, and the other necessities of life.
I, myself, would be “looting” cell phone stores, or even better satellite phone stores, looking for as many phones and pay as you go cards I could carry.
I mght also be looking for hand cranked or solar power radios.
One of the most valuable and scarce commodities during a disaster is the ablity to communicate. When normal phone service and electricity is disrupted, cellphone, satellite phones, and radios become extremely important.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devasted much of the US Gulf Coast, millions of people have again been looking to the Internet for information on what has happened and how they may be able to help.
If you visit news.yahoo.com and type in 'Katrina”, you will undoubtedly find much news about the crisis.
What has surprised me is how well the Internet links into New Orleans have held up so far.
As I write this, I am watching a live feed from a webcam in an office of an Internet company in downtown New Orleans. A couple of their staff stayed at their desks and have essentially reported live from the scene.
This has undoubtedly helped emergency officials assess the situation in areas very few can access right now.
Makes me think that Government should fund emergency Internet kiosks in potential hurricane, earthquake, forest fire, or tsunami zones. Give these kiosks a lot of protection from the elements and provide them Internet access through satellite.
Sitting here scouring the Internet for information on the situation in New Orleans, I can't help but feel a little guilty.
The small amount of Internet traffic I am creating might make it harder for people who have been directly affected to get to the web sites they need to get to.
But, I also feel that the world should know what happened with Hurricane Katrina so we can all help in coming up with lasting solutions.
It is going to be a long road ahead for the many people affected by Katrina. I wish them all the very best in their recovery.