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Friday, September 30, 2005

New Orleans--much more than Mardi Gras

While most of the hurricane coverage has been about FEMA screwups, the plight of the refugees, and the effects on gasoline prices, the WSWS points out that the storms are having a huge impact on American agriculture. Food is one of the few things, along with jobs, that this country still exports in large quantities. Some 65% of US grain exports typically leave the country through New Orleans, but much of the port infrastructure, for both river and ocean-going traffic has been damaged, and most of the people needed to operate it are no longer in New Orleans. In addition, food production has been directly affected, with millions of chickens and tens of thousands heads of cattle killed by the storms, sugar, rice, dairy and other farms wiped out, and most of the shrimping and fishing fleets decimated. The inability to export this year's harvest will go right back up the Mississippi to the grain fields of the Midwest, leaving farmers with yields they can't sell.

There's other scary things to read about in the article, which is well-written like most WSWS articles. They even left off their typical last paragraph about the only solution being for the workers of the world to unite for this article!