Thursday, 1 September 2016

Mother Nature as a national threat: Horrific Louisiana flooding and USA climate change

95,000 made homeless, Deja vu for Louisiana?

Baton Rogue, Capital of U.S. state of Louisiana. It is West of New Orleans
 at a slightly higher elevation and it sits right on the Mississippi River.

Baton Rogue residents hauling an inner tube while evacuating to safer areas. Many families have been heavily affected by the rising waters and have literally lost everything. For many families the flood came on short notice and many had to improvised rescuing themselves via inner tubes, boats for families had them and seeking help from neighbors.

Once again Louisiana and Gulf of Mexico is dealing with another horrific flood this time in Baton Rogue, Louisiana. The city is the capital of Louisiana and is East of Cajun Country but borders the Cajun cultural heartland. Just a few months ago, Baton Rogue was in the news as the home town of Alton Sterling, the African American father who was brutally murdered by local police outside of a store. On August 18th, one of the worst floods to hit Baton Rogue and other parts of Louisiana struck that submerged half the capital and left many residents stranded in their homes or on rooftops. The local fire and rescue services, police, volunteers, Red Cross volunteers, national guard and FEMA have been able to rescue thousands of people despite the death of 7 people. The flooding is not a karmic turn of events brought by Mother Nature in the aftermath of Sterling's passing. It's neither a coincidence either, although the flooding's shocking infrastructural destruction, collapse of levies and lost of human life parallels Hurricane Katrina and Sandy. Over 95,000 innocent people have lost their homes and family members following one of the largest floods in recent years. The Earth has been warming by 1.5% that is small but has butterfly effect across the world. It's not only Louisiana that has been dealing with rising sea levels and high level floods.

The third largest city in the United States, Houston, Texas is prone to massive flooding. It doesn't matter to climate change that the city is 50 miles inland from the coast ie Galveston Bay Area. Home to NASA Johnson Center, international city and one of the largest cities in Texas with over 2 million residents, Houston has often played roulette with hurricanes and flash floods throughout the decades. It is not uncommon for the weather affecting next door Louisiana to have an aftershock like effect on Houston. Houston's northern neighbors Dallas and FortWorth sit in Tornado Alley, the part of Southwest and Midwest states where tornodes are not only constant but do untold amounts of infrastructural damage and scattered lives across the area. It was Houston that took in a large number of New Orleans residents during Hurricane Katrina Tragedy 11 years ago. Some survivors still remain in Houston while others have long returned to a completely changed New Orleans. Baton Rogue continues to receiving assistance and help from New Orleans as waters receeds and slow post flooding recovery begins.

Gulf of Mexico's pollution


This recent flood emerged from Gulf of Mexico's decade long pollution and coastal erosion. Oil spills and explosions from British Petroleum, the Deep Horizon's offshore oil rigs, Southeast Louisiana's disappearing coastline, permanent lost of natural vegetation and hotter weather with help from the Gulf stream have all contributed to raging water. All have contributed to eating up natural barriers against rising sea, destroying parts of the local ecosystem, injuring local residents and displacing hundreds of thousands Louisianan from New Orleans to Baton Rogue and further East to Mississipi Delta and Alabama. Residents across Lousiana have protested for genuine justice and jailing the figureheads and CEOs of the local BP branches, Deep Horizons for the environmental crime that is also being pushed by climate change.  Keep in mind that every year the United States, Canada and Mexico experience heat-waves. The heat-waves also come on the heel of out of season floods, tornadoes and wildfires. Also remember that the Southern Louisiana is a low lying area much like New Orleans is designed like a bowl located below sea level.

President Obama is currently touring Baton Rogue and neighboring towns following the end of his vacations. The president has been heavily criticized for not cutting the presiential vacation short to see the damage from the beginning. Presidential candidate Donald Trump was said to be one of the earlier political pundits at the scene of flooding aftermath to donate supplies and funds.

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