WITH Tropical Storm Harvey already sending shivers up the region’s spine, the fear of impending disaster should serve as another reminder how crucial a key preparation is. Granted that the heads-up given is sometimes limited, citizens must be ever mindful of the adage “expect the unexpected”.
Despite being a peaceful tropical area that boasts lush natural beauty, the Caribbean is nevertheless at the mercy of destructive natural disasters, especially at this time of year, during the June-November hurricane season. That unfortunate window of opportunity for Mother Nature often results in the region losing many of its natural and economic gains.
With climate change now playing an increasing role in shaping the natural environment, the region stands to lose more of its gross domestic product (GDP) at any given time with one fell swoop of a major hurricane or tropical storm. These natural forces pay no respect to economic progress, social status or scenic geographies.
For many years now, Saint Lucians have been reminded of the steps they need to take before, during and after natural disasters such as hurricanes. Moreover, the news is replete with tips on how citizens can help in reducing the impact these natural forces can have, including ensuring that trees are trimmed neatly, drains and gutters cleared, garbage disposed discriminately and following the updates from the Met Office.
Quite often, these warnings go unheeded and dangerous consequences result, including loss of life. Sometimes, people feel they have a greater power than Nature itself and decide to battle the storm by venturing into it, for whatever reason. These actions are as counter-productive as chastising the authorities who choose to err on the side of caution by shutting down the country due to an impending storm that never comes.
Just like every other season – Christmas, Carnival, Jazz, et al – where preparation is key, the hurricane season is as important. One must never become complacent, especially when lives can be lost in its aftermath. Citizens need to recognize that inasmuch as calmness is the normal prevalent trend, being prepared to face the evil eye of a mighty storm is also a reality.