Send Hezbollah to Hurricane Katrina Victims

August 19, 2006

In an amazing display of government responsiveness at its best which puts Washington and FEMA to shame, politically savvy Hezbollah on Friday began handing out $12,000.00 cold hard cash (in USD) to each Lebanese claimant who lost their home during the recent Israeli-Lebanon war. Now, why is it that Hezbollah can be up front enough to compensate people for damages caused in a war they started, and Hurricane Katrina victims — many of whom were uprooted in the greatest U.S. mass exodus since the Civil War — are still trying to rebuild their lives?

All the Lebanese had to do was sign up on Wednesday or Thursday and then go to a local school on Friday, show identification, sign a receipt and voilà! compensation. In a televised speech on Monday, within hours of the cease-fire taking effect, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said that Hezbollah would help rebuild Lebanon to the tune of $600-$700 million and give money to civilians who lost their homes, including the finanical aid which civilians began receiving on Friday. It’s estimated that 15,000 Lebanese homes were destroyed in the 34-day war, with the cost of rebuilding Lebanon pegged at $3.6 billion.

Ninth Ward in April 2006, New Orleans

Meanwhile, back in the “homeland” on Tuesday, and just as the Lebanese were learning that they would be speedily compensated for damages, Judge L. T. Senter, Jr., with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, ruled in favor of insurance companies and against Hurricane Katrina victims, in a suit potentially affecting thousands of Mississippi and Louisiana residents (and saving insurance companies billions). Senter ruled that Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. did not have to pay up on much of a claim submitted by Paul and Julie Leonard of Pascagoula, MS, who sued Nationwide for $47,000.00 of the $130,253.00 in property damage caused by the hurricane. Senter ruled that the storm surge (caused by the hurricane of course) was actually a flood, and hence not covered by their standard homeowner policy. Neat trick, huh?

Wanna bet me as to which homes will be fixed first, the ones along the Gulf Coast in the United States, or the ones in Lebanon? (Hint: The home shown here, in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, is seen in April 2006, over seven months after Hurricane Katrina made landfall.)

Read more hurricane news. (Translate: We’re still completely unprepared for another national large-scale natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina.)

Photo credit: AP/National Geographic Photo Camp, Hannah DeFelice

Copyright © 2006