Friday, August 26, 2011

Weather Worries and Human Impacts

I spent this morning assembling a cache of supplies to get my family through the impending Hurricane Irene. Candles, matches, milk for infant, water, sandbags (my first purchase of this item, ever). I’ve never been through this kind of pre-disaster situation before, so I’m full of anxiety and worry about my kids, my home, my car and everything else that makes contemporary life in the US feasible. However, as I’ve noted a lot in this blog, I have it relatively easy as a member of the middle-class who still has a job with a decent salary. It’s nothing new to say that while natural disasters can impact anyone, those impacts are much more dramatic on the poor. Katrina still lingers in the public memory as a prime example of this.

As I was checking out at the local Home Depot and grocery store, I couldn’t help but feel for the folks ringing up my purchases. They were working, while I was able to leisurely prepare for the storm. Many of those folks also likely rely on public transportation to get where they need to go. That’s got to add quite a few points to the degree of difficulty in disaster preparedness. My clerk, in particular, was a laid-off teacher looking for other work, but had to take a job at the grocery store to make ends meet. I had to consider myself so fortunate to still be on the other side of layoffs. I also thought of my father-in-law, who works an evening security job on the weekends. He won’t be able to hunker down in his home. He’ll have to drive through the hurricane to get to and from work to get that needed paycheck. I know there are many more like that among the 80 million people predicted to be impacted by the storm.

Here’s to hoping it’s all hype and that I and those folks all get through the storm unscathed.

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