[EDITORIALS]Solidarity amid devastationThe devastation left by Hurricane Katrina in the southeastern region of the United States, including the New Orleans area, now seems to have far exceeded initial estimates, making the hurricane one of the worst natural disasters ever. The count of human lives lost and properties damaged is rising every hour and thousands of refugees fleeing from their homes are suffering from chaos and lawlessness. We would like to express our deepest sympathy to the people of the United States, who have been tragically struck by this catastrophic natural disaster.
Fifty-nine countries from around the world, including Korea, have offered their hands in help, and the U.S. government has announced that it is willing to accept any effort of relief assistance offered. Among the countries that have offered help are Cuba, not normally a country friendly to the United States, and Sri Lanka, which suffered heavy losses from a tsunami earlier this year. Such offers are proof of worldwide solidarity and a willingness to help those in need. The Korean government should promptly provide relief and assistance efforts in order to help out immediately, and work in close cooperation with the U.S. government in assisting with the long-term restoration efforts. It should also look out for Korean residents in the region and provide a separate assistance program for them. We also urge civic groups to work with Korean government in providing urgently-needed relief and assistance.
Hurricane Katrina’s tragedy shows that even the single superpower, with the world’s biggest military and economy, can be helpless in the face of a large-scale natural disaster. The flooding of New Orleans shows how humans can suffer immeasurable damage when they are caught unaware and unprepared for a natural disaster.
Korea, too, has to endure typhoons and flooding every year. Every year we were hit by a severe natural disaster, we demanded that the country’s defenses be strengthened, but usually the clamor is forgotten until the next summer, when we are hit by another large-scale disaster. The memory of the damage caused by typhoons Maemi and Rusa is still vivid. The reason Koreans feel so strongly about the devastation caused by Katrina is perhaps because we know that it could happen to us as well. There is news that typhoon Nabi, which is reported to be even larger than Katrina, is moving north towards the Korean Peninsula. We must prepare and be ready.