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Hurricane Katrina, Death, and a Different Type of Entrepreneurship

I've seen terrible images today on the television and internet-bodies of the elderly and infants floating in attics, buildings collapsing, seals washing up in the middle of highways. All I can say is that our thoughts go out to those in New Orleans, Gulfport and surrounding areas in this sad time. We will keep the people who have been hurt or passed away and those who were close to them in our prayers today and in the weeks to come.

From the reports I've read, tens of thousands were unable to evacuate. 20,000 fled to the Superdome before unsanitary conditions, sweltering heat, high tensions, four deaths, and a broken roof forced officials to begin transferring these refugees to the Houston Astrodome yesterday. Looting has become rampant, the New Orleans mayor has said thousands may have lost their lives, and the levees have now broken and are overflowing. Bush has called the disaster one of the worst in national history. From what I've seen and read it seems truly terrible. As one nurse noted in an MSNBC story it's like living in a third world country. I can only be hopeful that the positive potential of the human spirit will shine through as the destroyed areas are rebuilt in the coming months and years.

A Different Type of Entrepreneurship

One thing I have seen over the past two days on TV and in blog entries and posts from people on the ground is the tremendous efforts of many in pulling together to help those in need. Entrepreneurship, to me, is defined as any effort which creates something of value to others. In this sense, I've seen a tremendous amount of social entrepreneurialism displayed over the past forty-eight hours. Wikipedia, one of the most significant human advances so far this century, already has a very detailed and interesting topic-by-topic 6800 word account of the Hurricane at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina. Other valuable sites that have been quickly set up include:

- http://katrinahelp.info
- http://www.hurricanerefugee.com/
- http://www.findkatrina.com
- http://www.deadlykatrina.com
- http://www.hurricanekatrinasurvivors.com/

I find it truly is amazing what can be done when innovative people quickly leverage the possibilities of the Internet and technology is such a short time to help others. Major props go out to these innovative social entrepreneurs that have been able to get these socially valuable resources up so quickly as well as the on-the-ground volunteers, electric company engineers, National Guard forces, and emergency service providers working above and beyond the call of duty.

How We Can Help

The American Red Cross has launched its largest mobilization effort in its history for a natural disaster. You can help the victims of Hurricane Katrina year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Hurricane 2005 Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or visit https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation-fo rm.asp.

Ryan Allis is the founder of the http://www.zeromillion.com and the CEO of Broadwick Corp., providers of the email marketing software IntelliContact Pro.

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