It’s Not Over Yet

Image: A man carries a woman on his back across a flooded street.

ALMOST everyone who witnessed the damage that last weekend’s inclement weather left in its wake would concur that the situation could have been worse for many Saint Lucians.

Within a matter of hours last Friday, a hint of sunshine turned into an all-out barrage of rainfall that resulted in flooded streets, stranded people and stalled vehicles. Unfortunately, some people were left homeless while one man died while attempting to save a cow from drowning.

The weekend weather system serves to remind us just how prepared we must be in times of disaster. Despite the best technology to predict the weather, some measure of preparation must always be in place to safeguard life and property from being lost.

The deluge also exposed the city’s outdated infrastructure which the Prime Minister himself admitted needs to be overhauled to withstand increasingly-intense weather systems. Last Tuesday, Dr. Anthony described as “a national embarrassment” the mass of debris that was seen floating in the Castries Harbour when the flood waters hit.

With the weather seemingly back to sunny, there is always that propensity for many to quickly forget the tragedies we would have been spared. Many might also forget that people who were displaced from their homes or would have lost personal belongings are still finding it hard to move on.

But the bad weather did seem to bring out some measure of good in us. A pregnant woman’s life was spared when a quick-spirited citizen rescued her from the flood waters. In the process, he almost lost his after falling into a manhole. Such stories are but the best respite for many who count blessings.

Undoubtedly, a great deal of gratitude must also go to all the people and various organizations that responded in kind. Kindhearted citizens, the police, utility companies, and other organizations came out in good form to ensure that things returned to some semblance of normalcy. However, the debris left in the trough’s wake can still be seen in some quarters.

At this time, a lot more focus needs to be placed on how we respond to the phenomenon called climate change. By now, the term should not be left to the technocrats: the implications are as clear as a sunny day. We must understand that we will be worse off tomorrow if we do not treat the environment better today. Unfortunately, no weather forecast can accurately predict what can result if we don’t change the way we do things now.

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