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A quick look at life beyond Metzger Drive

There are still no exact figures on the death toll of Hurricane Katrina, but it is a number above 1,100.

More than 10,000 people are forced to rebuild their lives and homes. Millions of people were glued to the TV and the Internet following the events and the coverage of the second hurricane, Rita.

There are a couple of phenomena about it: first, the broadcasting was – as the term suggests – broad and risky (24/7 and on-the-spot); second, most Americans knew about Katrina, and ultimately, the media storm about it has died, no more news.

Noticeably, during these events, the climate of American broadcasting and political thinking changed somewhat. Thus the question, what has actually been achieved, will be due soon.

As a sentient human being, I was and still am deeply moved by the events I saw. Therefore it struck me the worst hearing about a natural catastrophe that killed more than 41,000 people without extensive or informative news coverage! Likewise, The Signal did not write one lousy word about it!

It missed reporting this earthquake that hit South Asia last week and killed tens of thousands of people, made several millions homeless, destroyed water, food and health supplies in unimaginable dimensions! Are we too far away, too unattached to members of the human race that unfortunately do not bear American citizenship, or what is going on? If a newspaper does not deliver news, it may not deserve this tag.

On Oct. 8, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India were hit by an earthquake probably stronger than 7.6 on the Richter scale. It has been the worst in 100 years and was followed by more than 40 powerful aftershocks (magnitudes 5 or above).

The German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that more than 41,000 people had died so far, though according to Defense Procurement Agency reports, volunteers in the region estimate a death toll of 50,000, and many thousands more were injured.

Five million people are homeless; they have nothing to shelter themselves from the extremely cold nights. Water springs dried up and the remaining water has already gone bad.

Food is scarce.

Large numbers of dead bodies lying above ground further the critical circumstances and outbreaks of epidemic diseases are only a matter of time.

According to the United Nations, 23 hospitals, three tuberculosis hospitals, and more than 600 health care centers (including maternity health centers and leprosy clinics) are completely destroyed.

At least 80 percent of the Pakistani city of Muzaffarabad is also destroyed, and its remainder uninhabitable. The same happened to Islamabad and other cities. Saving survivors who are still buried alive in the rubble has proven to be a hard task, for proper equipment to lift heavy concrete blocks is not available.

The extent of this catastrophe is momentarily impossible to estimate.

It is a newspaper’s purpose and duty to report news. If time or resources are scarce, a short briefing would compensate a complete coverage of a piece of news.

Hopefully The Signal will report on more news that affects humanity. Just a few brief examples of news that we could not read about in our campus newspaper:

* As a result of Hurricane Stan, it had been raining heavily in Guatemala and other Central American countries. In the last week, mudslides and clean water shortages that caused more than 2,200 deaths were the consequences of a hurricane.

* An earthquake hit Tokyo as well. Fortunately damages remained relatively low.

* In September, Germany had general elections, but no party won a majority of the votes.

A historical month of political chaos, if not disaster, followed. Eventually, the bewildered German leaders decided on the new Chancellor: “Christian” conservative Angela Merkel, the first female and east German chancellor. But her politics do not predict a splendid future for the country.

* Former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter, compared President Bush’s and British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s war in Iraq to German actions in Europe in World War II. “Both these men could be pulled up as war criminals for engaging in actions that we condemned Germany (for) in 1946.” Pop icon Madonna is startled by the similarities of Bush and Hussein.

* About 700 business leaders and individuals took part in the “Fair Trade Futures Conference” with the intent of strengthening American economy and worker’s rights.

* Two weeks ago, Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi received the FAO Agricola Medal for his commitment and efforts in the global fights against hunger and poverty.

* News coverage on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has silenced, but in fact, much is happening down there. The South is being re-erected.

Some news should be reported because of its cruelty, to understand how humans tick, and some for inspiring quality, to see hope (again) and the power of the people.

Information from –,,,,,,,,

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