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September 16, 2005

America's Tsunami?

I'm sure someone will write in to complain about this, but here goes...

I was slightly uneasy when I first heard, on BBC News, comparisons being drawn between hurricane Katrina in America, and the Asian Tsunami disaster of Boxing Day (26th September for non-UK people) 2004. I was at first just unsettled at the concept of comparing national disasters, but later was slightly appalled by the term "America's Tsunami."

I don't think it is appropriate to compare a disaster causing (according to Wikipedia) 170,000 - 250,000 deaths, with one causing, at the time of writing, about 700. Sensible estimates suggest that Katrina is very unlikely to be responsible for more than 10,000 deaths.

Sitting here now, I am still unnerved about the fact that I can even sit here counting nature's severity in terms of numbers of lives. Now add in the fact that the Asian disaster was spread across more than 15 different poorly developed countries, whereas the US remains the most developed country in the world.

The US disaster, while terrible in terms of human lives and suffering, is nothing like as severe as the Asian Tsunami, and to compare the two is an insult to the memories of those lost in both disasters.

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