Life continues to test our mettle as humans are subjected to nature’s power. Hurricane Harvey’s victims in the U. S. are busy reassessing their lives in the Gulf States of Texas, Louisiana. Other affected areas include Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, Yucatan Peninsula, Windward Islands.
South of our border Mexico experienced the most powerful earthquake in a century registering 8.1 off their southern coast with many deaths and much destruction. Another hurricane, Katia, created more damage there but has been downgraded now to a tropical storm once it moved ashore.
A third hurricane, Jose, remains a potent force, but the hurricane of most concern presently churning ocean waters is Irma with wind speeds in triple digits. Caribbean islands have been decimated as Irma demolished Barbuda made her way through Cuba, the Florida Keyes, to make landfall on the, U. S. mainland in Florida.
Hurricane Irma is over 400 miles wide – wider than the state of Florida. Moving up the Gulf Coast into Tampa Bay -- the Tampa, St. Petersburg area is now expected to take the direct hit -- over 700 miles of coastline that is especially vulnerable to flooding given the low sea level. Unfortunately, failure to take measures in years earlier to prepare for predicted rising sea levels due to climate change reportedly will be even more challenging after this hurricane.
Storm surges to 15 feet are possible reaching the roofs of single story homes. South Floridians have had mandatory evacuations with more than 6 million seeking safety elsewhere. Many storm shelters are full. Even as I write this more last minute evacuations are occurring. Power outages are present. Tornadoes are reported in southeast Florida. Irma took an unexpected turn to southwest Florida shores where the storm surges could reach second story level of many beachside occupied homes.
The U. S. Coast Guard is prepared to assist. The Florida National Guard has been mobilized ready for deployment when appropriate. FEMA has been marshaled in preparation. Support personnel have been arriving in Florida for several days from across the United States. For example, one news report filmed trucks on freeways with First Responders from the Los Angeles Fire Department including a Swift Water Team with their dog for rescue and recovery
Hurricane Irma is expected to travel the full length of Florida into the states of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina where preparations for safety continue.
DIGNITY IN DISASTER
Our President has been behaving and speaking with the dignity that his office warrants in these days when so many of our nation’s people are experiencing hurricanes devastation in their lives.
Last week with the extremely hot temperatures we were experiencing curtailing my activities, I wrote about some thoughts that crossed my mind regarding feelings and attitudes engendered when I might need to ask for help. Also, I was reminded recognizing any limitations I might have was important for my own well-being.
I considered the significance for all of being cooperative and expressing appreciation for assistance provided by others. I noted a tendency toward grouchiness or being out-of-sorts could sometimes surface if a person didn’t feel well or was experiencing pain, but how, ideally, we minimize subjecting others to such.
Now that our Southern California weather has sufficiently lowered into double digit figures, actually mild levels for this time of year where I live, I’m prompted to think of another helping aspect. There are situations where we must provide assistance for the safety or best interests of another that is not wanted, even rejected.
We might need to re-examine the manner or language we use, then adjust our tone and/or phrasing. This can make a difference under ordinary circumstances, but anyone caring for a loved one experiencing dementia has or will find doing so to be especially important.
In times of stress we are especially vulnerable to losing patience with others when calming may be needed but not always easy to provide.
Florida Department of Elder Affairs reports there are 5.2 million seniors there. I think of them -- hope they're coping as well as possible through these difficult times.