Today, shortly after listening to a friend complain about all the media comparisons of Hurricane Harvey to Katrina, I started listening to my news podcasts and immediately listened to a bunch of comparisons to Katrina. And Sally, but mostly Katrina.
And maybe that's frustrating to some, but what I heard were several well-reasoned comparisons to Katrina, including considerations of the geography, the size and type of storm, the amount of rainfall, the type of construction in the area and even the political climate in Congress.
It was good to hear explanations of how this could happen, stories of people who made a difference in times of trouble, and what we might do to help Houston recover. These are the kinds of stories that can bring us together. And stories of the losses we experience help motivate us to prepare against the next time Mother Nature shows us her angry face.
CNN's photo coverage is pretty good, but barebones.
NYT did this article debunking some Harvey hoaxes that can help you navigate the social media coverage.
A local station, KHOU, put out these before and after aerial photos that show just how widespread the damage was, too. The flooding wiped out some entire small towns, just buried in six feet of water.
I felt like some of the best coverage was in the podcasts, though. They talk to people instead of just stealing a split second in a photo frame and leaving the viewer to extrapolate the context. Talking to people is how you hear their problems, what their minds are occupied with, what they saw before they got here. A picture can't tell you that.
The news media doesn't always do a story justice, sometimes we as viewers have to do that on our own, with a little effort, our imaginations and what information we do get.
I think everybody should take a minute to look at some of the coverage. Think about what these people had to go through. We can't all go help, or afford to donate, but we can all spare a minute to think about what these people were forced to live through. What would you take with you when you left your house, with no real expectation of finding anything when you returned? How would you carry it? Could you bring yourself to leave everything behind? Where would you go if your whole town was flooded? How could you start over?
(These photos are all from major news networks)
Remember, many of these people were never told to evacuate. They had to decide for themselves based on incomplete information and a history of not having a problem riding out storms coming off the gulf. I've never evacuated for a storm. I can count the times I've even taken cover on one hand.
I don't know if I would've evacuated, or ended up stuck on rooftop waiting for rescue.