August 30, 2017

Random Acts… Hurricane watch goes beyond storm’s duration

Posted in Diversity, Politics at 10:50 pm by dinaheng

The only thing harder than riding out a hurricane is watching from afar, wondering if your loved ones in the danger zone are safe.

I live in California, the home of earthquakes and wildfires, while the rest of the family lives in Texas, the place you’re not supposed to mess with. Four of my six sisters live in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States, now devastated in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Before the storm stuck, my sisters joined everyone else in stocking up on groceries and topping the tanks off in their cars. Then they went home to watch the rain fall.

Each day, I called or texted them, just to touch base. Fortunately, they all live in neighborhoods on higher ground, and their homes were not flooded.

“I got to the grocery store today,” my sister Linda said on Wednesday. “There was a line of people around the store, waiting in the rain, because they only let five people in at a time. I waited about half an hour.”

Inside, there was no bread, bananas, and limited snack items. She grabbed some milk, peanut butter and eggs, and headed home.

In 2005, more than 800,000 homes were destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Harris County officials estimate 30,000 to 40,000 homes in Houston were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey this week.

The dramatic scenes of flooding, frightened residents, and heroic rescues on the news brought home the reminder that this is what real news is about. The political posturing in Washington and accusations of “fake news” by a president who’s constantly repeating lies were finally knocked off the air by a natural disaster that people can actually respond to.

Think climate change isn’t real? We’re seeing now what happens when land development goes amok without regard for natural resources. Want to fight over whether your Democratic/Republican/white/black/Asian/Hispanic/Native American/Christian/Muslim/Buddhist viewpoint is better than others?

Who has time to argue over semantics when you’re waist deep in rising water and a total stranger is trying to pull you into their boat? As for those who think ”the media” is just plain evil, maybe seeing what real journalism means will make you think again, especially if the stranger pulling you into the boat was a reporter who was sharing your story with the world.

The lessons of Hurricane Harvey will be discussed and dissected for years to come. Let’s hope we learned that it doesn’t matter where we live. It’s how we live – and how we help others — that matters.

 

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