Never Completely Prepared . . . - The Missourian: Columns

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Never Completely Prepared . . .

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Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 5:00 pm

Hurricane Sandy is another reminder that no area can be completely prepared to handle a disaster. We didn’t really need a reminder. Missourians remember all too well the tornado that struck Joplin and before that Americans remember Katrina.

The best we can do in preparations is no match from some of the blows inflicted by Mother Nature.

We do have excellent emergency responders, well trained and capable to handle disasters up to a point. It is the damage to infrastructure that is a major problem. It simply is impossible to have backup for the damage a major storm produces.

It is particularly horrendous when Mother Nature unleashes her wrath on a major metropolitan area such as New York. That is when we really understand how much we depend on electricity, gasoline for our vehicles, roads, bridges, public transportation and the basics we need to get through every day.

In the New York area people feel isolated from the world due to the hurricane as recovery is slow. Life savings in material things lost deepen the depression that surrounds victims. They long for somebody to tell them what and how to regain their lives, according to news reports.

The cleanup from this storm will take years. A question is whether to rebuild where the storm hit. It could happen again. They talk about sea walls and other protective infrastructure. But how much protection can be devised? Mother Nature has a way of destroying the best protection that can be designed.

Among the daily routines that have been affected is eduction. Schools are closed. Some are being used as shelters.

Getting to work is a big headache. Some businesses were destroyed, jobs lost. Other businesses can’t operate because workers can’t get to the workplace, or power is still off. Thousands of vehicles were lost. We have no idea how many of the victims had adequate insurance, or any at all, that covers hurricane damage.

It is so much more of a problem when Mother Nature strikes a heavily populated area. We saw tornado damage at an early age in northwestern Iowa and those scenes of destruction never fade. But that was a rural area where homes and outbuildings would be miles apart. When a tornado or hurricane hits a city, the devastation is so much worse.

There are many aid agencies at work in the New York area. Coordination is a problem, but that will be worked out in time. Actually, restoration of electricity in some areas came in a matter of days and those crews certainly are deserving of a pat on the back.

The weather worldwide does seem to be going through a change. The destructive events from Mother Nature’s blows appear to be greater than ever before. One reason is that areas have been developed that weren’t there to be destroyed years ago.

It is in tragedies such as Sandy that volunteers come to the rescue in many ways. Neighbors who hardly knew each other are bonded by disasters in mutual aid. Benefit events are scheduled to help aid agencies and individuals. There are countless acts of heroism that we will never know about, including the saving of lives. Medical first responders, hospitals and the National Guard troops save lives and bring relief to the injured.

The number of the dead, missing and injured change daily as more victims are found in searches and the cleanup work. Lives have been changed forever!

/opinion/columns

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