When a natural disaster strikes anywhere in the world, it is cause for alarm, panic and shock. But, I think when a natural disaster occurs on an island, the reaction time for shock starts before the alarm goes off.
I keep checking the news services online in order to get the latest updates on Haiti after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck that island nation on Tuesday. And all I can do is repeat over and over, “I can’t even imagine.”
The news today is how they are still uncovering corpses from the piles of rubble from the many buildings that collapsed and how they are running out of water and supplies. Many of the hospitals are not able to be used due to the structural damage to the buildings.
The International Red Cross said that a third of the 9 million people that live there may need emergency aid. That’s more people than the entire nation of Mauritius has as a population. And Haiti is an impoverished country with unstable governments.
How will they ever rebuild and how long will it take?
Living on an island, I now notice how the sea changes color during the day and what type of rainy day clouds will produce the rains that continue for days on end.
And I know that if a natural disaster where to strike my current tiny island home, it would take so long to rebuild.
All building and emergency relief supplies would need to be brought in by air carrier or by container ships via the sea. But, what if the port and/or airport were structurally damaged? How would anything make it onto the island?
How would people get medicine and food? How would a clean and safe water supply get back up and running? And what about electricity – how would the equipment to fix power transformers and power lines get into the hands of the people that know how to fix them?
If the one main 2-lane road was unusable, how would anything or anyone move about the island? Would Port Louis be shut-down because there’s no other way around it?
Because of the horrible tragedy in Haiti, I find myself thinking about all of these questions and more. I also think, “Please, please, please let the Government of Mauritius have some sort of disaster recovery program in place.”
Please let all the citizens of this island and all the tourists who visit this island become aware of the disaster recovery plans.
Please ensure that all doctors on this island are made aware of his or her emergency duties if a natural disaster were to occur. And please train the police, the people at the airport and the people at the port so that they know how to respond during a time of crisis.
Once again, it is cyclone season here and as it happens every year, people begin whispering about how this year is going to be THE year. Some people even want a big cyclone to hit the island.
Since I have been here and every single time someone mentions cyclone to me, I have always said, “We don’t want a cyclone. A cyclone would not be good.”
No. Not good at all.
To those that wish this terrible natural disaster to occur, perhaps, if you really are that bored, you could pick up a book, toss in a DVD or go hang out with your friends and family.
Think about it.
I can’t even imagine what the people in Haiti are going through right now, but the people of Haiti and all the emergency workers there are in my thoughts and in my prayers.