In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we faced Hurricane Irma and Maria back to back in 2017. Two years later, there are still individuals and businesses that have not recovered fully from these storms.
This month, our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas were faced with Hurricane Dorian that destroyed lives and properties. It is believed it will cause millions of dollars to restore these islands to a normal state.
Are there any lessons we can learned from these Hurricanes?
Always be prepared.
One of the main lessons learned is for us to be prepared. Of course, it would have been a challenge to prepare for a monster like Hurricane Dorian as this storm was like no other storm to take place in the Bahamas.
The Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies does a very good job in providing us with preparation tips. Take those tips seriously by adhering to what they suggested.
I know many of us pray hoping the storms do not come and sometimes we do not prepare because we believe that the storms will not come or the storms will not be that bad. However, we live in a Hurricane zone and the season is from June to November and so it highly likely that a storm will come but that does not mean you should discontinue praying. It means we should be prepared. Have an evacuation plan and a contingency plan.
I know some of us have concerns about getting insurance for your property due to the price. However, please ensure that your property is insured whether you have a mortgage or not. A friend of mine in the Bahamas who had insurance when there was a previous Hurricane was able to rebuild their home that was damaged from the insurance proceeds. However, he did not continue with insurance as they were debt free and did not appreciate the need for it. Unfortunately, the family just lost their home as a result of Hurricane Dorian and so they have to start all over.
I know the insurance can be costly but it is worth the risk of losing everything especially if you do not have any savings. The insurance company will allow you to have a payment plan over so many months.
I also recommend that businesses may want to consider getting insurance for business interruption so in the event of a storm, you can get claim for loss of business.
There was so much concerns by family and friends when they were unable to contact or locate their family members. Sometimes, we take our family for granted and do not even realize the importance of family until a storm comes. The good thing though is that storms unite family and friends and therefore the material things we focus so much on come and go. They are not important like your family. Keep the unity and care for each other even when there are no storms.
Always help when you can
There has been a significant amount of outpouring of help from many countries, individuals and organizations to assist the Bahamas in this crisis.
I know sometimes we complain when our country donates to other countries after a major storm. However, we do know the future and is best to help others if you are in a position to do so. We do not know when our time will come for assistance.
Move to higher ground
My friend who lost his home said that despite the massive flooding, he was not impacted by the water because he was residing on an elevated level. It is suspected that the persons that died, died because of the flooding and therefore if we can find places that are on higher ground then perhaps some lives would have been saved from flooding. Of course, this may be a challenge given that our islands are basically flat. However, there are some elevated areas.
The importance of emergency procurement features
Sometimes after a storm, there is so much red tape in procuring things in the country and as a result restoration and help are delayed. Thankfully, in TCI, there are provisions in our ordinance for waivers of the procurement ordinance in the event of emergencies.
Enforcement of our building codes
I know we have very good building codes. However, many of us are guilty of taking short cuts after the plans are approved in order to save on material costs. The best thing to do is follow the approved building plans.
Hurricane Dorian has caused catastrophic damages to the Bahamas. Maybe there are some lessons we can learned from the storms but no matter how much we prepared ourselves, we could not prevent the storms. The best thing to do is follow the warnings and evacuate the areas before the storm arrives.
I hope these storms taught us not to focus on material things as they can easily be demolished. Likewise lives can be lost as evident from the recent storm, therefore give your life to the Lord.