HURRICANE Dorian has caused vast destruction in the Bahamas. It is much too close to home to just be thankful that it wasn’t us, and to dismiss the possibility that one day it could very well be us. It is also much too soon to assess the scale of damage which was caused by this fierce force of nature to our Caribbean neighbour, but corpses have been taken out from under the rubble and many people are in despair and desperate for every kind of aid. There is no doubt that many Saint Lucians had taken Dorian for granted when it was announced on August 26th that it was heading our way with dangerous potential. In relation to the approaching storm, the Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said at the time, “It is important that we take this extremely seriously.” But many persons as we know were not the least concerned.
Fortunately for all Saint Lucians, Dorian went by as calmly as a breeze, but it is so heartbreaking to see that the Bahamas was not as fortunate as we were. The destruction could not have been foreseen. It is the responsibility of our authorities to adequately sensitise us for disaster preparedness. “Adequately” in this sense means to even exaggerate on the dangers of hazards to ensure that residents of this island are safe instead of sorry. In the name of safety, locals were urged to prepare for the worse, and amidst the many expressions of gratitude that nothing happened, there were also the exclamations of disappointment that the weather did not align with what Saint Lucia and neighbouring islands were advised to anticipate.
No one could have foreseen the mutilation that Dorian did to the Bahamas in the same way that we did not foresee what it could have done, but did not do to us. It may be unfair to use the misfortunes of others as examples to those who take their fortunes for granted, but Dorian’s passage in the Bahamas is a reminder that we can never be too prepared. It is a fact that a great deal of damage is inevitable when hurricanes hit at their hardest. Existing structures are permanently in harm’s way and we are limited in the number of methods by which we can secure them. But as we continue to develop this nation and certainly before we build our homes, we must take into consideration the unpredictable strength of a hurricane and ensure we do it right. Before we build homes we must ask ourselves some very important questions, such as, “Have I chosen the right location” and “Is my foundation strong enough?”
If we proceed conscientiously in the execution of projects, then we will be one step ahead in anticipation and preparation of natural disasters. We need to foster an attitude of doing things right instead of doing things ‘just for now’. –And most importantly, we need to foster an attitude of seriousness in response to all hurricane warnings, and the like.