New re­spect for na­ture

The Compass - - OPINION -

Last week’s dev­as­tat­ing storm wi l l be re­mem­bered in this prov­ince for many years to come, and not just be­cause of the un­prece­dented winds and rain and sub­se­quent dam­age. As is cus­tom in this prov­ince, it will also be re­mem­bered for the many ways in which neigh­bours and friends came to­gether in a time of need to help and sup­port and re­as­sure one an­other.

The me­dia has been re­port­ing nu­mer­ous cases of New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans show­ing their com­pas­sion and kind­ness for those af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Igor. Dave De­nine, the prov­ince’s min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the vol­un­teer and non-profit sec­tor, said it best on Fri­day.

“ In the face of the de­struc­tion, peo­ple are vol­un­teer­ing to help their neigh­bours and com­mu­ni­ties get through this dif­fi­cult time and in many cases, non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions have been of­fer­ing their fa­cil­i­ties as shel­ter to those in need,” De­nine stated in a news re­lease.

“ No mat­ter what is­sue peo­ple are pre­sented with, they go above and be­yond to help en­sure oth­ers are safe and com­fort­able. Whether it is help­ing the com­mu­nity clean up or bring­ing a neigh­bour s om e food , New­found­land e r s and Labrado­ri­ans are a lwa y s there to lend a help­ing hand and show their co­op­er­a­tive spirit.”

Sure, there were some com­plaints from those who felt the re­sponse was slow and that m o re could have been done to help those cut off by the storm and left with­out power and ad­e­quate sup­plies of f o o d , wa t e r and other ne­ces­si­ties.

But we have to re­mem­ber that Hur­ri­cane Igor stretched this prov­ince’s abil­ity to re­spond to such a dis­as­ter to the very limit. Pa­tience is some­times hard to come by dur­ing a cri­sis, but it ap­pears that most peo­ple un­der­stood the wide­spread de­struc­tion de­liv­ered by the stormwas of a level not be­fore­wit­nessed in mod­ern time.

For those of us liv­ing in the Con­cep­tion Bay North and Trin­ity South re­gions, we were left count­ing our bless­ings last week that the dam­age wasn’t worse. Sure, therewere flooded base­ments, power out­ages, roads were dam­aged and treeswere top­pled, but we couldn’t help but lis­ten and watch in as­ton­ish­ment and amaze­ment to the havoc be­ing felt on the Burin and Bon­av­ista penin­su­las.

Many com­mented on the force of the storm, and how their re­spect for na­ture’s power had been re­in­forced. There is lit­tle doubt that when na­ture un­leashes its full fury, there’s not much that mankind can do but hope for the best.

There was no loss of life in this re­gion, and no re­ports of in­juries. When you con­sider the fierce­ness of the storm, that’s rea­son enough to give thanks.

As news gath­er­ers, we found our­selves out in the face of the storm, click­ing our cam­eras as ve­hi­cles forced their way through wa­ter-cov­ered roads, as ditches swelled with dirty brown wa­ter and started eat­ing away at the shoul­ders of roads, as tree buck­led and broke un­der the strain, and as wor­ried cit­i­zens bat­tened down the hatches in an at­tempt to ride out the worst of it.

We also watched as mu­nic­i­pal em­ploy­ees and many vol­un­teers, in­clud­ing fire­fight­ers, left their own prop­er­ties be­hind in or­der to help oth­ers. It was a heart-warm­ing and in­spir­ing site. To them, we of­fer thanks.

With the storm now in the past, we must fo­cus on re­build­ing and en­sur­ing that the prom­ises made by the prov­ince and Ot­tawa to help those af­fected by the storm are kept.

So long, and good rid­dance, Igor.

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