“SOMETIMES it takes a natural disaster to reveal a social disaster.” Jim Wallis
There is a clarion call for greater cooperation among peoples and nations of this world whether in periods of prosperity or disaster. Ever so often, the need for cooperation is thrust upon our leaders, especially in the area of health. In recent times, the world is severely challenged with the COVID 19 pandemic, and in our own region, we are experiencing the added discomfort caused by the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano in our neighbouring island of St. Vincent & The Grenadines.
Because of the close proximity of St. Lucia, we were expected to receive the brunt of the initial volcanic ash, however due to wind shift, Barbados was first to be affected. Some individuals claim that the volcanic ash and dust can be around for several weeks.
Heads of Governments in the CARICOM region are acting in consort to bring relief to the citizens of St. Vincent & The Grenadines. Donations are pouring in from governments, companies, organisations and individuals, along with coordinated efforts by a few banks operating in the region. It was heartening to note that two cruise ships offered assistance in evacuating Vincentians, and in short order began to execute their offer. Prime Minister, Honourable Ralph Gonsalves should be encouraged with the initial response from his colleague Prime Ministers as they, along with their citizens are rallying to the urgent needs of the situation.
We, Saint Lucians should be counting our blessings, and take a stand to be ever supportive of our neighbours. Do not allow the challenges of controlling the influx of visitors, who are seeking refuge to dampen the reason for which the assistance is being offered. It will be necessary to exercise patience in our dealing with the housing, feeding, and clothing needs of our brothers and sisters. This is a time for prayers, asking for God’s intervention in the affairs of his people, to save and comfort them.
The COVID 19 pandemic does not make the situation any easier, and we can only hope that with the availability of the vaccines, our people will take every opportunity to be vaccinated. It is unfortunate that the hiccups with AstraZeneca, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, where it is claimed that blood clots are possible side effects, and as a result, the latter vaccine was paused a few days ago.
It is my feeling that like the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also be cleared for continued use. Let us stick with the science. Millions of persons have received the jab without any cause for concern. I can attest to that. My first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine was without any side effect. I can’t wait to receive my second shot. We must encourage each other to do the right thing.
As we welcome our brothers and sisters from the neighbouring islands, let us lead by example as we adhere to the protocols of washing hands, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
There are hundreds if not thousands of stories of Disasters to be told around the region as those who were affected, rose from the ruins, and in many instances, started all over again. We need to hear those stories. Enough is not being done to educate our people about disaster survivors. Media houses throughout the region need to get involved in the production of survival stories that normally follow disasters. Story telling is a vital part of informing and educating our citizens in all aspects of life.
It can be a source of motivation, when we salute our brothers and sisters in the streets or speak with them on the phone, to assure them that – EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT! Words have power. In these extraordinary and challenging times, when there is seldom any good news, we can only be a source of encouragement to each other. We live in a time, when we should be our brother’s keeper.
Stay safe. Remember Always, Keep the Faith, Yahweh is in charge; dream big and expect daily Miracles!
Freelance Journalist/Realtor/Business Consultant