Mother Nature wins again

November 7, 2012 

The Weather Channel and NOAA are to be commended for their excellent forecasting, predictions and warnings on Hurricane Sandy. Even with these it was not enough as many individuals and governments (state and local) did not heed the warnings and those who did could not fathom the enormity of what was really to come and the aftermath Sandy would bring.

After Hurricane Katrina, many rushed to blame President Bush for the plight of many who chose to stay behind and the slowness of the recovery just as I am sure many will rush to blame President Obama. Mother Nature could care less who’s the president, governor or mayor.

Having been acting director, Navy Medical Readiness Division during which medical assets were deployed in support of natural disasters for Hurricane Andrew and Typhoons Inika (Hawaii) and Omar (Guam), what is certain is that all infrastructure systems, no matter how good they are, will be initially overwhelmed and there will always be forgotten details and lack of planning in areas that were once thought solid. Preplanning and prepositioning can only go so far in preparing for these events — one can never plan enough nor think of every scenario.

For some unknown reason natural disasters never follow the action plans laid out by the best planners — go figure! The best thing we can do is to get better at planning for support of food items, potable water solutions (drinking, waste disposal, showering and washing clothes), electrical support services (generators, gasoline, diesel, personnel and equipment), medical services, and temporary housing.

Americans are a people of “I want it now” and the recovery from natural disasters (even wars) takes years to happen, and then there is really never a full recovery.

What is very disconcerting is the fact that some citizens of Bridgeport, Conn., were throwing objects and cursing at the utility crews who were trying to assist them with their electricity. These individuals, along with looters, are the “ugly” Americans the world has come to know us by.

Although easy for me to say, patience is needed and it will be hard on those who are in need. America will have to deal with scenarios like this time and time again and it is how we “learn” from the past and “deal” with the future that will either make or break us as a people.

The writer lives in Longs.

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