New Orleans: Nature's revenge?
By Adam Blenford BBC News
New Orleans and the Mississippi are crucial oil and gas hubs. For generations, many who live and work in the Big Easy have feared the worst. New Orleans lies in a wide, shallow bowl on delicate marshlands well below sea level, with the Mississippi River running through it. It perches under the lip of a vast lake more than twice its size, while to the south and east lies the Gulf of Mexico, one of the world's most fertile hurricane zones. To protect the city from disaster, city planners designed and built a complex system of flood defences after the Mississippi burst its banks in devastating fashion in 1927. Nevertheless, officials had little option but to order a mass evacuation of New Orleans when they saw that Hurricane Katrina was headed for a direct hit. The mayor of New Orleans has ordered a total evacuation of the city smashed by Hurricane Katrina. Most of the city is still under water and thousands are feared to have drowned.
Speaking about floods brought me back to the story of Noah and the Great Flood. The Bible relates about the expansion of the human race which spread over the earth and the sprouting of female species were burgeoning on this earth. The men saw how beautiful these daughters were, so they took for themselves such women as they chose. In those days, when the men had intercourse with the daughters of mortals and children were born to them, they were the heroes of old, people of renown. When God saw how great was the wickedness of human beings on earth, and how their every thoughts and inclination were wicked, he bitterly regretted that he had made mankind on earth.
God then said: "I shall wipe off the face of the earth this human race which I had created. I regret that I ever made them."
However, Noah had won the Lord's favour as he was a righteous man, the one blameless man of his time. He had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
God said to Noah: "I am going to bring the whole human race to an end. Make yourself an ark with ribs of cypress; cover it with reeds and coat it inside and out with pitch. This is to be its design: the length of the ark is to be 300cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. You are to make a roof for the ark, giving it a fall of one cubit when complete; put a door in the side of the ark, and build three decks."
"God told Noah: "You shall go into the ark with your sons, your wives, and your son's wives. You are to bring living creatures of every kind into the ark to keep them alive with you, two of each kind, a male and a female. Stove enough food for you and for them."
In that year when Noah was 600 years old, on the 17th day of the 2nd month, that very day, all the springs of the great deep burst out, the windows of the heavens opened, and rain fell on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.
When the water had increased over the earth for a 150 days, God caused the wind to blow over the earth, so that the water began to subside. On the 17th day of the 7th month, the ark grounded on the mountain of Arafat. The water continue to abate until the 10th month, and on the first day of tenth month, the tops of the mountain could not be seen.
By the 27th day of the 2nd month, the earth was dry and God spoke to Noah, "Come out and bring out everyone including the living creatures. Spread over the earth and be fruitful and multiply. I shall now establish my covenant with you, and with your descendants after you. I shall sustain my covenant with you: never again will all living creatures be destroyed by the water of a flood, never again will there be a flood to lay waste the earth. For all generations to come, this is the sign which I am giving of the covenant between myself and you and all living creatures with you:
My bow I set in the clouds
to be a sign of the covenant
between myself and the earth.
When I bring clouds over the earth,
the rainbow will appear in the clouds.
'Then I shall remember the covenant which I have made with you and with all living creatures, and never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all creation.'
(Source: Genesis 6-9)