What started out as a tropical wave in the Southern Caribbean turned into one of the most devastating storms to ever hit the United States. Leaving in it's wake is so much woe, misery, death and destruction. For millions still reeling from last years Irene now to suffer through another more damaging storm, like adding salt to the wound, trying to rebuild lives and livelihoods, for some, may never recover. Scientists have dire warnings that the United States is poised to yet again be in the path of more frequent and more powerful storms. Was Hurricane Sandy a prelude of things to come? What can the United States do to minimize the damage from violent storms that for years have destroyed lives, homes and livelihoods? A sober reality is now really hitting home that for millions from the mid Atlantic to the Northeast trying to rebuild their lives and livelihoods will take years. What about the cost of not doing anything in preparation in the eventuality that a storm of the magnitude of Irene and more importantly Sandy will make landfall. Come to think of it reminds one that too many accidents and deaths occur before we eventually install a stop sign or better yet a traffic light at an intersection is too often the rational displayed by our public officials.
In Florida, home to what many consider more prone to experience major hurricanes many have first hand knowledge of what a storm of Sandy's magnitude can do. We have in place mandatory regulations for back up emergency energy systems for the operation of gas stations strategically placed through-out the state. And yet there is still so much more that can and should be done to protect an ensure the safety of all citizens so that another Katrina like scenario doesn't ever happen again. Tell that to the people in New Jersey and New York. What should have been done to alleviate the possibility of the enormous storm surge that has cost billions of dollars of damage wasn't even considered a violable alternative. But when you factor in the enormous cost of the damage in a storms of Sandy's impact has had in just New York alone any protective barrier would have made a huge difference in the amount of damage that could have been averted. There again like the Boy Scout motto " Be prepared" hasn't been fully realized when storms are poised to hit. The rationale has always been the after effects rather than foreseeing potential damaging contingencies and implementing the necessary responses that would negate the enormity of cost before any storm whose path comes in contact with the United States. All too often the responses have always been after the storm has hit rather than the meager ones before that only satisfy the rationale of our public officials.
What would have made the damage much less severe and the cost of repair so much less when there could have been in place barriers that would have cost less than the cost of the recovery that is underway wasn't even considered. There again, like so many other times when ever there is a national emergency or natural disaster a little bit of foresight before could have saved lives and billions of dollars. Just look at the anguish of millions of Americans whose lives have been uprooted just because the powers that be failed to adequately prepare for what is going to be a continued cycle of adverse weather conditions that will turn into violent life threatening storms.
To get back to any semblance of normalcy after last years Irene then to get hit with a more catastrophic storm with the advance of colder weather and all those still huddled in shelters and hotels could very well bring other very dangerous situations. The likelihood of an Influenza outbreak or TB is a real probability. Compounded to all this misery comes more incumbent weather. Advancing storm systems could very well bring more misery for all those still trying to get back to any type of normality.
What scientists are saying that climate change due pollution and our continued consumption of fossil fuels have all contributed to increasing global warming. When the earth is going through climate change as rapidly as it is has considerably contributed to the formation of mega storms of the likes of Hurricane Sandy. Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms, issued a study titled “Severe Weather in North America.” According to the press release that accompanied the report, “Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America.” While many factors have contributed to this trend, including an increase in the number of people living in flood-prone areas, the report identified global warming as one of the major culprits: “Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity."
Every public official has to take this very seriously and now start to put in place contingencies that will effectively offset potential life threatening conditions that currently continue to unfold whether it is a Hurricane, Tornado, Fire or Earthquake. Like that opening to the Six Million Dollar Man: "Gentlemen we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the worlds first bionic man. Better than he was before, better, stronger, faster." Well, guess what! We actually do have the technology and the capability to put in place many devises that would curtail storm surge that currently has destroyed so many livelihoods. We have the technology and the capability to build sturdier buildings and homes capable of withstanding mega force winds when tornadoes, hurricanes or an earthquake strikes. We have the capability to ensure adequate safety shelters that will ensure the safety of displaced citizens with the necessary sanitary conditions in place to eliminate any threat of another Katrina episode that unfolded in the Silverdome won't ever happen again. To say it isn't feasible or too costly only to continue the way we have always been is a sure fire recipe for disaster to strike again and again. Too many lives have already been lost and too many livelihoods have been destroyed by our complacency.