I have been following with a heavy heart the news about the damage Typhoon Haiyan caused in the Philippines. The horror and extent of loss in such events is difficult to fathom from where we sit watching it on television. The blow to the country and its people is profound. There were entire towns washed away, thousands have died, and tens of thousands are displaced.
This level of devastation from such a natural hazard is not unusual. Every year there are such events. Some kill a handful, some kill thousands…some just wreak havoc of communities and disrupt lives.
Today there was a deadly tornado outbreak across the Midwest. Already five deaths and extensive damage have been reported in several Illinois communities. Even those communities that just suffered with severe thunderstorms have damage to address that will disrupt their lives. How much cleanup will these communities be able to complete before the snow flies? How many people are without a home this evening? How many people will be burying family members?
We live on a volatile planet my friends. On any day, a natural hazard can impact a community or series of communities and turn their collective world upside down. The earth does not change to accommodate people’s ways, people must change to accommodate the earth’s ways.
Mind you, there are so many other hazards out there beside the natural hazards the earth seems to predictably lob at mankind. To truly enhance your safety and survival requires a much broader understanding of how hazards intersect with populations to create vulnerability. There is no place you can live that is hazard free, but there are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe. Be sure to make smart choices about the hazards you expose yourself to; invest time, energy, and money in preparedness activities; have the necessary mechanisms in place to receive timely warnings; and, support a well-funded emergency management program in your community and state.
The planet isn’t going to change – the question is, will you? Tomorrow could be the day that you and your family are impacted by a hazard. Do what you can today to ensure that you are ready to deal with the potential hazards in your area (see ready.gov).
Day one thousand two hundred and thirty-three of the new forty – obla di obla da