Monday, August 21, 2006

The Storm in Budapest: Sadness Today, Anger Tomorrow

Three people are dead and two still missing, it has been reported by a government spokeswoman today. The shock and sadness was evident throughout Budapest this morning as people set out to start their work day, some to quite literally pick up the pieces from last night's sudden outbreak of violent weather. Throughout the city's squares, parks, and among the cafes and restaurants, remnants of the storm saw people sweeping with a broom, gathering in their arms or in some cases hoisting with a crane to remove the various elements of debris.
It is understandable, having witnessed the scale of the storm and the size of the crowd gathered when it struck, how devastation of this magnitude could have been caused. What can't be understood is how, despite warnings from meteorologists that this storm was going to strike when it did, the celebrations were not cancelled and the spectators not warned. The very fact that the fireworks display continued throughout the storm, the outbreak of panic, the surging and dispersing of the crowds and beyond was utterly surreal; that it shouldn't have gone ahead in the first place, utterly baffling.

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