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DAILY POST COMMENT: Devastated city needs our help.

THE city of Liverpool has much in common with New Orleans, scene of this week's devastating hurricane. Both port cities, both with a unique musical heritage, it is only right that Merseysiders should offer any support they can to the inhabitants of their twinned city in Louisiana as they struggle to cope with the aftermath of one of the most destructive storms in US history.

Hundreds of thousands of people are thought to have lost their homes, and hundreds more are thought to be dead.

Even though New Orleans was spared the full force of the storm, the bowl-shaped city is 80% under water after the flood barriers were breached, and people are being told it could be four months before they can return to their homes.

Hurricane Katrina is yet another example of the awesome power of nature, most recently demonstrated by the Boxing Day tsunami that struck South-east Asia.

On that occasion, Merseysiders joined the rest of the country in rallying round and raising millions of pounds to support those hit by the natural disaster.

The close links between Liverpool and its counterpart in the southern United States will no doubt add extra impetus to the messages of support and humanitarian gestures that are made on this occasion. Liverpool and New Orleans both rose to prominence in the mid-19th century when their histories became linked through cotton and slavery.

Liverpool shipped out manufactured goods, including the decorative iron work that has made New Orleans architecture so different, and in return was brought cotton.

After the ships had gone, both cities failed to diversify and fell into a decline. But their unique trading histories helped to forge a distinct musical identity - jazz in the case of New Orleans, and the beat boom spearheaded by The Beatles in Liverpool.

Although such natural disasters as Hurricane Katrina are tragic for those caught up in it, some good will come out of it if it helps to remind us of the close cultural links that exist between these two great cities
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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