Feldman: As we pray for the recovery of the region and mourn the tragedy that has befallen it, we also commit ourselves to working for a better future for the Gulf Coast and all its citizens.
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Washington , DC | August 28, 2007 – Noting the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation wrought upon the Gulf Coast, and particularly the City of New Orleans, Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
As we observe the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the natural and man-made disaster that struck the Gulf Coast two years ago, we continue to mourn the loss of life, the separation of families, the destruction of homes and livelihoods and the dislocation of the hurricane’s victims. We continue to pray for those who lost so much and who continue to experience suffering beyond what many of us ever could imagine.
We find hope in both the increased population growth in New Orleans and the region over the past two years, which has reached 83% of pre-storm levels, and the return of the tourism industry, bolstering jobs and revenue in the city. But the devastation is not limited to the past. Despite these areas of growth, hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to struggle with the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The lack of quality healthcare services, an inadequate public education system, and a high unemployment rate still plague the region and its residents.
Further, the gap between New Orleans' rich and poor, which became so apparent in the immediate aftermath, sadly has defined the recovery efforts. That gap, which we ignored in the years preceding Katrina, and which the hurricane forced us to acknowledge, again has faded from national consciousness. We must dedicate ourselves to rebuilding and improving the lives of those affected by the hurricanes and to learning how to prevent and mitigate the damage from future natural disasters.
On this second anniversary, we call on our elected officials to redouble efforts to collectively and decisively respond to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. It is up to all of us to consider the needs of the region’s young, poor, and disaffected. Affordable housing, quality schools, and crime prevention are all crucial elements to rebuilding a vibrant Gulf Coast.
As we pray for the recovery of the region and mourn the tragedy that has befallen it, we also commit ourselves to working for a better future for the Gulf Coast and all its citizens.