disasters and the myth of self-sufficiency

image from money.cnn.com

I have friends from all along the north-east coast of the USA and in Ontario and Quebec. I’m glued to the news coverage of Hurricane Sandy. The devastation is horrible to imagine, even more horrible to watch. During these late days of election campaigning, it is good to see the candidates respect the enormity of the situation. All of a sudden, campaign rallies seem trivial.

A natural disaster is a wake-up call and reminder to acknowledge the many heroes in our midst. The true heroes include the men and women who staff emergency measures offices around our countries, preparing for worst case scenarios. Thank God for their expertise in evacuating large populations, monitoring situations and setting the gears of emergency relief into place. And, thank God for all the first responders who risk their own lives to save others; fire-fighters, paramedics, police officers, doctors and nurses, and many more. And, thank God for the utilities workers who work in the most adverse conditions to restore power where outages have occurred.

While politics is put aside in these critical days, one can’t avoid thinking of the financial cost to have emergency systems in place; government money, tax money. I have a son who is a fire-fighter and paramedic. I know the intense, ongoing training that is required to stay up to date and prepared for all possible scenarios. I understand the massive expense required to purchase and maintain equipment that might sit idle for months on end, but is critical when disaster strikes.

When one family experiences a tragedy, the community rallies to support them. When tragedy befalls entire populations and communities, we need strong, well-funded emergency measures programs to respond quickly, efficiently and effectively. And, we need disaster relief funds to house and feed all those who are displaced, and to help them rebuild their lives.

In the midst of a wide-scale tragedy, the myth of self-sufficiency quickly evaporates. Some are happy to fund armies but denounce the funding of other governmental programs. Nature has the power to unleash some mighty wars. Thank the good God above when trained and qualified troops of emergency personnel are in place to respond.