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September 2, 2005
Katrina: Rebuilding On An Unimaginable Scale

Hugh Hewitt reminds us in his column at the Weekly Standard that we may not yet realize the scope of the task that faces us in New Orleans. We have rebuilt parts of cities after natural disasters in the past, but Hurricane Katrina has created a singular event, one which moves far past the task of simply recreating housing and commercial buildings. How does one re-create a living community?

Before long, however, the extreme needs will be met and the long-term rebuilding will get underway. At that point it will become much less obvious how ordinary Americans can help. When terrorists struck on September 11, the carnage was huge and the loss of life staggering, but an entire community was not wiped out. With this disaster, America confronts for the first time the daunting reconstruction of complex social and political organizations.

It is a task which may be beyond the ability of the local, state, and federal governments to manage. How, for example, does a government--at any level--presume to assist a shattered church in the reconstruction of its walls and its Sunday School programs, an Alcoholics Anonymous chapter in the care of its members, a community theater in the reconstruction of its playhouse, or scores and scores of high school athletes in the completion of their senior year schedules so that colleges and universities can offer talented kids a chance at a free education?

The only way such a multitude of specialized needs can be met is for the vast, vast numbers of their counterparts across the United States to act--independently of government--to come to their aid in a reconstruction effort.

Hugh has some excellent ideas about how that can be accomplished, and even has some help lined up from NZ Bear. He proposes setting up a clearinghouse of specific requests from community groups and getting word out to similar groups elsewhere who will know specifically what resources to gather and send. Cash does not solve all ills, after all, and plenty of specific expertise will be needed to recreate the community interaction that Hugh describes. Don't miss this article.

Speaking of Hugh, Radioblogger has the transcript from my appearance on his show yesterday. I feel fairly certain that Duane got the billing order backwards on this segment, however. Scroll through all of his entries from yesterday to catch up with what the blogosphere is doing for flood aid and Hurrican Katrina, and not just in New Orleans, either. Don't forget to keep the donations coming to Catholic Charities, too.

And pray, pray, pray for the victims and the rescuers in New Orleans.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 2, 2005 6:00 AM

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Tracked on September 2, 2005 11:10 AM

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