U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell delivered the following statement on the Senate floor today on the Senate's response to Hurricane Katrina:
"Mr. President, in times of catastrophe, when destruction, suffering and death are so overwhelming that it breaks your heart and almost leaves you numb, it is comforting to find that an outpouring of generosity, kindness and help from our fellow man restores our faith and strengthens our souls.
"With all the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, we see more and more acts of such generosity and kindness. In Louisville, Kentucky, my hometown, we are preparing right now to receive 500 evacuees who have lost their homes due to Katrina. With all their worldly possessions gone, they are reliant on the kindness and generosity of their fellow Americans, and it is not lacking.
"Red Cross volunteers in Louisville are working around the clock to turn the city's fairgrounds into a temporary shelter.
"In Louisville, over 300 families turned out to shower donations on a local Salvation Army center. One man alone brought over 6,000 diapers. Others are bringing basic necessities like soap, toothpaste, and towels.
"This spirit of generosity for our fellow man is by no means limited to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Across America, we've all seen pictures or heard stories over the last several days of millions of total strangers reaching out to help their fellow citizens who have been displaced by the tragic events on the Gulf Coast.
"We see Girl Scouts filling old backpacks with clothes, blankets and yes, a stuffed animal for children who have lost everything. We hear of Boy Scouts collecting food and clothes, as well as raising funds for the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other aid organizations. Businesses, small and large, have opened their hearts, wallets and warehouses to provide cash as well as in-kind aid. Churches of all denominations have taken up the cause of their brother's keeper.
"Thanks to the support of so many Americans, the thousands of people from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama affected by Katrina will have a chance to build new lives. Of course, local, state and federal government has the major role to play. I'm pleased that we were able to act quickly last week and pass a $10.5 billion appropriation for emergency response and recovery efforts. We are going to act soon to pass another $51.8 billion in aid. And more will be on the way if needed.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Americans who have tragically lost loved ones, and with many others who have lost their homes and all their worldly possessions. The Senate must focus on the immediate task before us--providing support for the relief, recovery and rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region.
"And while we have much important work to do in the days and weeks ahead, we can take some comfort that once again, in the midst of a tragedy, the worst of times seems to bring out the best in our people.
"So let us appreciate the people of Louisville, of Atlanta, Houston, Baton Rouge and all over the country, who are reaching out to help Katrina's victims all across the Gulf states. While one person alone may make little difference in comparison to the magnitude of this disaster, millions of individual acts of compassion, taking place all over the country, will go a long way to alleviate the suffering."