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Photographer's Note

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The first American refugee I photographed


In high school class during the early ’60s, I saw pictures of Europeans refugees in magazines about the 2nd World War.

During the ’70s, as a combat-photographer covering the Vietnam War, I witnessed Vietnamese refugees every day, killed and alive.

In 1990, my family and I landed Seattle Tacoma Airport as refugees ourselves. Also in this decade, I saw pictures of Kosovo refugees again on TV. In my mind, citizens of all countries of the world can be refugees with empty hands running away from their houses; anyone can be displaced, except the US citizen in their rich and safe country. Now, the truth verified that I am wrong. You are looking at the picture I took last night of the first American refugee I saw as he walked off the convoy of 475 buses with his entire properties in the backpack, waiting for being admitted at the west entrance of the Astrodome. This little boy is among the "lucky" one of the 25,000 victims who were fortunate enough to make it to Houston. He has just been dropped off to begin the admissions process into the dome shelter. Hurricane victims are finding in the 131,000-square-foot Astrodome some things they haven't had for days — cots, running water and air-conditioning.

Talking to his mother, I found out his daddy took them to safety in New Orleans Superdome, then swam back home among the bodies floating around him in New Orleans' flooded streets to get some more belongings, and didn't return to them yet...


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Based on early reports, we understand that Hurricane Katrina has seriously impacted many people and families. Our deep sympathy and heartfelt concern go out to all of the victims of this terrible disaster. When a disaster of the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina strikes and the news broadcasts images of broken, battered and destroyed homes, it is natural for the public to be eager to help their neighbors — whether they’re across town or across the country. The first priority is meeting the urgent, critical needs of nearly 42,000 which include providing emergency shelter, food and water.

You can help the victims of this disaster by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 800-HELP NOW. Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

Thank you for your generosity and God Bless!


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