The Hurricane Diaspora

I just wrote a long blog entry that got deleted. I tried to pack light so I\'m borrowing a computer and am not familiar with Apple iBook commands. So my words got lost in the system somewhere. Somewhat apropos given that I was talking about the hurricane evacuees who get relocated, separated, traumatized and then often lost in a system that amounts to a sea of forms and policies and confusion. My long blog entry is lost in the sea of computer land.\r\n\r\nToday we got to work, reaching out to evacuees spread across Texas who are still seeking FEMA assistance they have been promised publicly but often denied in seemingly arbitrary ways. Or their landlords are taking advantage of them.\r\n\r\n- My sister and brother and I each got sent to different states. She applied for rental assistance first so FEMA said I was ineligible because my address in New Orleans is the same as hers.\r\n\r\n- My daughter and I had to leave our apartment in New Orleans. It was uninhabitable, as was the whole city. I never got my security deposit back from the landlord. Then the landlord moved out all my belongings and dumped them so she could rent the apartment at three times what I had paid.\r\n\r\nSo many stories, so many obstacles. Spread out across the country. Bureaucracy can create solutions or it can take a simple solution and blur it, lengthen it, add in lots of conditional clauses and formalities that befuddle even the most educated mind. Imagine navigating a system of phone operators, government forms, while trying to find a job, keep your family safe and sheltered, grieve for a life you were plucked from by a helicopter and brought to a random and often very far \"Disaster Recovery Center\" so that you can begin to rebuild your life.\r\n\r\nThese people are so spread out. Much has been said about rebuilding the land, the infrastructure, the levies and the city. But nothing will be rebuilt to the way it was. Not the land, the infrastructure, the levies or the city. And certainly not the lives. At least, in some ways, I hope not. I hope that these are all rebuilt in new ways. Built to be stronger, more resilient, smarter and built to move forward into improved systems and lives that continue to pay tribute to their past while learning from the mistakes and the inadequacies.\r\n\r\nOf course, I\'m probably being too hopeful, too optimistic. It\'s so easy to say these things without realizing how quickly, in the click of a mouse or the rush of a tide, it can all be wiped away, leaving us to scatter once more.\r\n\r\nOriginally posted: http://bls-shn.blogspot.com/2006/03/hurricane-diaspora.html

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“The Hurricane Diaspora,” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed August 11, 2022, https://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/30078.