Are we ever ready for disasters? How resilient could we ever be after a calamitous event?
Hurricane Matthew is the latest natural calamity to batter the US soil this year, and despite the infrastructural asset management plans geared towards the protection of life, limb, and property, there are still casualties.
The flooding triggered by Hurricane Matthew claimed the lives of 46 people in the USA, with North Carolina catching the brunt, with 26 deaths from either walking into flood waters or being swept away by the water current. Meanwhile, there were 12 deaths recorded in Florida, four in South Carolina, three in Georgia, and one in Virginia.
These may just be statistics to some, but for the affected areas, most especially North Carolina, the hard days have just begun.
That’s because Hurricane Matthew left serious problems and the state authorities and citizens had just started rebuilding and re-checking their infrastructure natural disaster management strategies. Princeville, a town in North Carolina, had it worse. The severely hit town is still underwater as of this writing.
Devastating storms have always been a perennial problem in the United States, and while authorities mull over infrastructure management resources for natural calamities like Hurricane Matthew, citizens can also do their part in limiting its harrowing effects and hastening rehabilitation efforts.
Here are some things that both government and citizens can do:
- Understanding the critical role of advance preparation. Hazard prevention and emergency response plans implemented by the government in the form of evacuation orders, disaster response teams or public advisories significantly reduce collateral storm damage. Now, people within a community can act as first responders during calamities, but if they are not involved in active rescue efforts, the least they can do is follow the orders of authority during these times.
- Taking part in climate adaptation awareness and environmental protection advocacies. Studies reveal that hurricanes in the North Atlantic have been intensifying over the past 40 years. Warmer oceans and warmer air will cause an increase in rainfall. Although a typical state already has Stormwater Infrastructure Management plans to meet stormwater destruction, citizens can make a difference by joining environmental protection efforts and awareness campaigns about climate adaptation and change.
- Discouraging development in high-risk areas. There are significant flood prone areas in different parts of the US, especially in North Carolina, Southeast Coast of Florida and West Virginia. Authorities must make the necessary information drive to warn people about the risks that they are taking when they when they reside in these areas. At the same time, pre-existing residents and community leaders must gear local legislations towards the protection of life, limb, and property through infrastructure asset management.
The magnitude of a natural calamity like that of Hurricane Matthew was felt even after it left. In cases like this one, the community must bounce back together.
The government is accountable for passing policies for infrastructure asset management but the people must also be equally vigilant and responsible for urging local legislators to improve the country’s infrastructure resilience to future tragedies.