Posted by Exile on November 3, 2007
Oh dear. Not just reporting badly, but wrong spelling and grammatically incorrect use of the language is the order of the day in The Guardian today. Perhaps this one reporter was overwhelmed by circumstance. Look at this quote;
“Reporters yesterday described crowds of despondent people wandering waste high through flooded streets, some clutching plastic bags with a few salvaged possessions.”
I’m sure he means “wandering through waist high flooded streets”. Although, we are talking about Mexico – waste high? The floodwater is at waist height, not the wandering. One cannot wander at the height of one’s waist. One would be flying at a low level. Or hovering. And how does a plastic bag have possessions? Surely, these bags were “filled with a few salvaged possessions”.
OK, semantics aside, the flooding in Mexico is probably no fun for the people stuck in it. I’m sure I wouldn’t enjoy the situation either. A couple of things do come to mind though. This is being compared to what happened in New Orleans some years ago. The two events have a common misery factor, I’m sure, but the aftermath will be different. New Orleans was a much more developed place than its Mexican counterpart. New Orleans is still recovering. I believe the recovery in Mexico will be much quicker.
More than half the buildings described as homes in Mexico are, or were, no more than shanties. Built with tin and cardboard, wooden refuse and plastic, they will be quickly rebuilt by the local population. Infrastructure is what you make it. City planning is not the be all and end all in this area. When the water goes down, the town will rise again, and very quickly.
The bill will be picked up by the rest of the world and not any one federal government. Mexico may even gain profit out of this.
It may be a natural disaster, but disaster has to be compared with a former situation in order to be assessed. The human suffering and loss of life is regrettable and poignant and probably equal in both situations. The economic consequences, however, will be remarkably different.
Losing everything in Mexico is probably not as devastating as losing everything in New Orleans. The simple reason is, that the majority of the Mexicans never had that much to lose in the first place. Their “everything” will not cost a quarter of the New Orleans “everything”.
And that may be the biggest natural disaster the Mexicans have to face, regardless of what nature throws at them.