New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin has ordered the evacuation of his city, reports The New York Times - and this time it's mandatory. According to Weather.com's breaking news page, Gustav looks bigger and badder than Katrina, and nearly 20-foot waves have already been spotted in the Caribbean.
In response, social networking companies like Ning and Cerado are developing sites, wikis and widgets to help people affected find news, resources and each other. I recommend starting with Cerado's Hurricane Gustav widget for iPhone, mobile device or Web site/blog, which allows you to list yourself and indicate whether you are offering shelter, looking for someone or are an evacuee. The widget's resources tab also answers the following questions asap:
CNN Coverage of Gustav
Gustav08 on Ning
Gustav podcasts from NOAA
How do I add a resource?
How do I find an evacuee?
How do I let people know where I've evacuated to?
Are you affected or do you know people in Gulf states who are at risk? Please let us know how they are and which social media tools, if any, are most helpful. BlogHer will work to get the word out with you.
If you're in one of the Gulf States, our thoughts are with you -- we invite you to check in and share how you are, whether you're evacuated and, if so, how it goes. Please let us know if these tools we've recommended help, or anything else this community can do.
A special shout out to Contributing Editor Nordette, our NOLA resident: We're thinking of you and can't wait to hear how you are. In fact, I think BlogHer Gringainteguz says it best in her post "I love NOLA." Here's proof:
In "Gameover," BlogHer Lettynola wrote of preparing for a Sunday evacuation that has clearly come earlier:
"Today we started tying down patio furniture, clearing out the fridge, pulling in topiaries, pulling in the "New Orleans Renaissance" yard flag (ironic), washing cloths to pack, washing the dishes up, putting things up high away from possible flooding, taking photos for insurance, taping windows (in case they shatter they won't blow through your home) and basically stabilizing anything that could have "flying shrapnel" potential. We'll watch the 10 or 11 pm track and then head to bed again. Then wake and hope the track is even farther away..."
On a related note, Mary Katharine Ham reported earlier today that Hurricane Gustav's gathering strength led the Republication National Committee, previously scheduled to nominate Sen. John McCain for president during the week Sept. 1-4, to announce that prime-time speeches may be cancelled and delegates turned into "Red Cross-type volunteers."(See New York Post article.)
I announced earlier today BlogHer's plans to cover the RNC. We may amend our plan, depending upon the path of Hurricane Gustav.
Thanks for keeping us posted.
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