Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gustav = Death and Destruction

Hurricane Gustav swept through the Caribbean and some parts of the United States leaving in its wake a wealth of death and destruction. It is estimated that in all, Gustav caused somewhere near in the region of eighty and a hundred deaths, leaving some people homeless, stranded or in shelters.

The pictures below of the destruction were taken from the weather gallery of


This one shows the Harbour View Bridge which was literally cut off and left people stranded and cut off from their family and friends. I'm not sure when exactly the picture was taken, but a new one was finally put up yesterday to allow traffic passing back and forth as well as residents living in the area to go about their business as usual.


Here's another picture, this one from the Vineyards area in St. Catherine...That is all I'm going to say...The picture does the rest of the talking


Here's another picture from St. Catherine, this time in Spanish Town. What you are seeing here is NOT a river. It's a road.


Once again, I will let the picture do most of the talking.

Hurricanes and tropical storms are severe weather systems, which means that those of us who live in a hurricane belt have to be prepared to face them. Living in a hurricane belt means that we are under the threat of these weather systems annually from as early as June to November. So why though do we still have so much death, displacement and destruction when one hits? Destruction in itself is unavoidable, but I know that nearly a hundred deaths is bordering on ridiculousness if there was lots of preparation.

I believe so much destruction and displacement was caused because a lot of people who live in these countries as well as their governments failed to ensure that these people observed proper building requirements mostly. A lot of the Flooding was caused by poor drainage , and some of these bridges destroyed because they were not built properly.

People in hurricane belts should not be living near the sea and rivers, and their governments should ensure that people do not build houses there. Relocation money could be put to other uses. Living near to the beach puts you in danger of storm surges; and lets not forget that rivers tend to swell. Hence, living near rivers puts you in danger of having your house washed away.

Here are some tips for hurricane preparation in case you live in a hurricane belt:

1. Stock up on nonperishable food items such as tinned food, as well as pet food, baby food and get a reliable first aid kit.

2. Secure all important documents such as your birth certificate, passport, etc in a ziplock bag or a waterproof container.

3. If you live in a low lying area and are in danger of your home being flooded, move to a higher more secure area that is not in danger of landslides.

4. Move your yard items inside such as lawn and patio chairs, etc

5. Review evacuation routes

6. If your home is not secure enough to with stand a hurricane, pack all your important documents, clothes, etc and go to a shelter. Do NOT wait until the hurricane has begun to make your move.

7. Install shutters over windows, or nail plyboard over glass windows. Tape might also be used to prevent against flying shards of shattered glass.

8. Get hurricane lanterns with extra matches as well as flashlights with extra batteries.

9. Buy battery operated radios

10. Buy lots of bottled water to drink, or store enough water to drink as well as use, but remember to boil for a long time without drinking and add a tiny bit of bleach to kill some bacteria that might be left back.

11. Make sure your car can start and has a full tank of gas

12. Draw extra cash to keep in case of anything after the hurricane

13. Emmergency generators must be kept outside in a safe place.

14. Before a hurricane check your roof to see if it's sturdy.

15. Cut down any tall trees that are in danger of falling on your house.

No comments: