Max Bearak writes: The devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey is already apparent, even though forecasters say the storm may be only half done dumping rainfall totals measured in feet over the Texas and Louisiana coasts. In possibly the most starkly worded National Weather Service announcement imaginable, the agency said Sunday that “this event is unprecedented” and “beyond anything experienced.”
For many Americans, Harvey is bringing back memories of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Nearly 2,000 people died in the aftermath of that storm. The U.S. government and Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to Katrina was widely criticized, but Americans came together to offer housing, clothing, meals and monetary help to the affected. President George W. Bush even accepted a huge offer of aid from Mexico.
The aid Mexico sent was no small thing — it was an extraordinary gesture, and it may have saved many lives. Marking the first time that Mexican troops had set foot on U.S. soil since the Mexican-American War in 1846, President Vicente Fox sent an army convoy and a naval vessel laden with food, water and medicine. By the end of their three-week operation in Louisiana and Mississippi, the Mexicans had served 170,000 meals, helped distribute more than 184,000 tons of supplies and conducted more than 500 medical consultations. [Continue reading…]