Posted by: kulanjiyil | September 19, 2008

Reflections on Hurricane Ike

 

Houston residents are yet to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. The devastating effects of such a powerful storm are quite evident throughout the city and beyond the path it traveled. The city of Galveston is literally in ruins. It is difficult to encompass the economic, sociological, and psychological cost of this natural disaster. People’s lives have been disrupted, families have been displaced, and thousands are without water, food and electricity. The loss of lives, especially, is mournful.

This was my first experience of a hurricane and I must say that I was fortunate to find a safe place away from the city. Although the temporary relocation inconvenienced life, it was worth taking that safety measure. The following comes to mind as I further reflect on the experience.

Our attitude: In general people have heeded to the Meteorological warnings about the dangers of the imminent hurricane, and have complied with voluntary and mandated evacuation orders. This helped reducing the actual loss of lives, in comparison to what happened during Katrina. However, a sizable percentage of population in Galveston Island refused to evacuate in spite of repeated appeal to leave the area. It appears to me that their reluctance to evacuate was characterized by defiance, apathy and a sense of self-reliance. It is not yet known how many of them survived the storm, and how many made it to safety at the last minute. The search and rescue efforts are still continuing in Galveston. The media continues to report that what happened to these people remains a mystery. Was this risk worth taking?

Community: I have seen communities coming together to restore communities, to clear neighborhoods from fallen tress, bushes and debris; and families coming to the aid of other families, to supply water, food and shelter. In one neighborhood people volunteered to cook and supply hot meals to those in need. I saw my neighbor helping another neighbor to patch the roof damage. These excellent deeds were over and beyond the relief efforts of the State and the FEMA. These altruistic behaviors that display human charity and brotherhood strengthen community bond and interpersonal understanding.

Faith, hope and Love: It will take months, if not years, to normalize our lives and our communities. The hurricane fatigue and emotional stress will linger with us for a while; nonetheless, there are three things that would keep us going. They are faith, hope and love. An unwavering faith in God that He will carry you through these hard times will keep your mind free from unwanted worries and anxieties. Believing that God will sustain you in His grace will strengthen your spirit. Hoping for the best and hoping for tomorrow will help you rebuild your life again.

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