By Alina Hunter-Grah, Chattanooga, Tenn.-
During the past two weeks, a storm without enough power to deserve a name managed to dump seven trillion gallons of water on Louisiana. This is more water than was reported to have fallen during Hurricane Katrina. The Red Cross called this natural disaster the worst since Hurricane Sandy, which happened in 2012. 100,000 homes have been damaged, 7,000 people are staying in emergency shelters and 13 people have died. Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, declared a state of emergency a short ways into the disaster.
Since then, many have criticized the media for a lack of coverage of the disaster.
President Obama and Donald Trump have also faced criticism for their separate reactions to the flooding and showed that it’s hard to choose the best thing to do in similar situations.
Trump visited Louisiana on August 19 with a truck full of food and a promise for a $100,000 check to be donated to relief funds. Many claimed that this stunt was only for publicity and photo-ops.
Obama visited the next Tuesday after receiving criticism for not visiting earlier. However, having a president visit disaster areas such as this requires removing attention from rescue forces to ensuring safety of the president; something that could cost someone’s life if the visit occurred at the wrong time.
In both situations, several people have said that having visits from big names threatens others as many will risk their safety in order to see the public figures.
Most of us at the Echo believe that as long as the individual is doing more good than bad, the visit is acceptable. As much as we are annoyed by the possibility of wrong intentions, sometimes these visits offer hope to the people and can have a strongly positive effect regardless of reasoning for the visit. We feel that the most important thing is that people are helped.
However, most of us feel that if the visitor has arrived without the intention of actually helping somehow either through donations or volunteer time, then the visitor should not have been allowed in. As mentioned previously by several people outside of the Echo, the visitor can draw crowds in unsafe and unhelpful ways.
In short, if the visitor intends to help, let them come. If the visitor will not be benefitting the relief, they should leave.