EDITORIAL:

Pre­par­ing for the next cy­clone threat is a mat­ter of ur­gency

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It is critically im­por­tantly that we should mon­i­tor all weather bul­letins. Ad­vance warn­ings give us time to com­plete our prepa­ra­tion and ac­quire nec­es­sary items and equip­ment we need dur­ing and af­ter a disas­ter

The Di­wali rain acted as a pre­lude to the cy­clone sea­son which be­gins to­day. Just be­cause Cy­clone Winston hit us in Fe­bru­ary, it does not mean that we will be spared this sea­son. In fact, there are pre­dic­tions that at least more than one cy­clone could be head­ing here. It’s all the more rea­son that we should now be switch­ing to prepa­ra­tion mode.

It also raises a sense of ur­gency to com­plete the re­build­ing of homes and schools destroyed by Cy­clone Winston.

Some vic­tims are still liv­ing in tents. These are the peo­ple that need ur­gent at­ten­tion, to have their homes and schools re­built. We must do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to ac­cel­er­ate the process so that we are all pre­pared. We can no longer take the threats of cy­clone and their as­so­ci­ated risks lightly. Ev­ery­thing must be done to have ev­ery­one ready in the event of another cy­clone. We should all be pre­pared for the worst sce­nario. We need to strengthen our re­silience so that we can cope with the im­pend­ing dan­ger. Learn­ing from our ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing Cy­clone Winston, we should be making ap­pro­pri­ate ad­just­ments to ex­ist­ing struc­tures to strengthen them. That ex­pe­ri­ence showed us that some struc­tures not built to the re­quired safety spec­i­fi­ca­tions stood no chance at the height of the cy­clone’s fury. We should im­me­di­ately, if we have not done it al­ready, build our food and wa­ter stor­age capacity in in­di­vid­ual homes, wher­ever it is pos­si­ble and af­ford­able. This would help ease the Government bur­den in try­ing to reach ev­ery vic­tim dur­ing at least the first 72 hours af­ter a disas­ter. The Government can con­cen­trate on look­ing af­ter the worst af­fected ar­eas. As we pre­pare to be re­silient we are build­ing our capacity to be self re­liant. Get­ting Government help should be our last re­sort af­ter we have tried to help our­selves.

It is critically im­por­tantly that we should mon­i­tor all weather bul­letins. Ad­vance warn­ings give us time to com­plete our prepa­ra­tion and ac­quire nec­es­sary items and equip­ment we need dur­ing and af­ter a disas­ter. The wild weather pat­terns af­fect­ing us and oth­ers in the re­gion are a re­sult of cli­mate change caused by global warm­ing.

It’s a re­al­ity that we must face and there is very lit­tle we can do about it. We should do all we can to face up to it. We should fol­low the ex­am­ple of the Government which has now in­cluded cli­mate change in its eco­nomic plan­ning.

Where it’s fi­nan­cially pos­si­ble, fam­i­lies should save for the rainy day and start a fund es­pe­cially for disas­ters. The fund should now be part of the reg­u­lar bud­get of ev­ery fam­ily. We have learned by bit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence that our suf­fer­ing in a nat­u­ral disas­ter can be ex­ac­er­bated by a lack of prepa­ra­tion.

Prepa­ra­tion should start now, if we have not started. This is a mat­ter of ur­gency.

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