Monday, Sep 23, 2019
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We must all play our part

In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, a massive cleanup and rebuilding campaign on Grand Bahama and the Abacos will have to be undertaken.

Many have seen the photos and the videos that have come from those islands and cays showing the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian. Government action alone won’t be enough; we all must play our part, all hands must be on deck. These are difficult times for The Bahamas and tough decisions will have to be made regarding state expenditure. If you were fortunate enough to be on an island in the archipelago unscathed by the unprecedented storm surge and powerful Category 5 winds of Dorian, and if you have the time, talent, money or resources, give in some way to those who will be in a desperate state. Donate, volunteer, visit, take in, do what you can to be part of the solution. Do not sit on the sideline and criticize the government when you are not getting involved.

Living in a hurricane zone, we grow up hearing advice on storm preparation. Public service announcements repeat this information constantly. You should buy this, cut down and store that. The damage caused by Hurricane Dorian reminds us of the necessity of following the guidance set out to survive storms and their aftermath.

The stories of what Bahamians on Grand Bahama, the Abacos and surrounding cays faced during the passage of Hurricane Dorian are chilling. Some had to climb into attics and onto roofs to avoid storm waters. Some had to leave their homes as 185-mile-per-hour winds bore down to find new shelter, because their roofs flew off.

In catastrophic storms the state always has difficulty responding. Even the United States, the richest country in the world, had trouble bringing things back to normal after Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Katrina.

The effects of this storm should make it clear to residents of our archipelago that we should all take seriously preparations before storm season.

We’re advised to store non-perishable food and extra water, along with flashlights, lanterns, radios and batteries; to prune trees; to fill our vehicles with fuel before the storm; to cover windows with shutters; to not stay in coastal or low-lying areas during storms.

Being prepared and making good choices before storms saves lives. It could also prevent you from being on long lines when things clear up, waiting to purchase hard-to-find basic necessities.

In crises, our personal level of preparedness can determine if we make it, or not; how we survive the days after devastation, or not.

It will take months, perhaps years before things get back to normal. Let’s use the struggle we now face to focus our minds on what we all must do to be ready next time around. While we hope there are no more storms this year, the Atlantic Hurricane Season ends on November 30, 2019.

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