Tuesday, April 23, 2024

AWRIGHT DEN: To tomorrow’s good


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Many of us watched in awe, disbelief, in tears, and with discomfort, the video footage – broadcast across television and the Internet – about the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last Friday.
 Many of us shared in the grief and pain of the thousands of people who lost their spouses, their children, their siblings, their parents, their homes, their means of employment and their communities. I was thankful that this crisis occurred during the day – not at night, which would have resulted in many more deaths.
 The islands of Japan are located in the Ring Of Fire in the Pacific. This is an area that experiences many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Japan is very seismically active with anywhere between 1 200 and 1 600 earthquakes a year. As a result, the government of Japan has injected lots of money and put people into studying earthquakes.
There are strict building codes, and many earthquake and tsunami drills are carried out across the country regularly. It was reported that most buildings withstood the earthquake due to the implementation of the building code, but were unable to withstand the brute force of the tsunami.
Japan is an island just like Barbados. It may be bigger; but it is still an island. After witnessing the destruction of the tsunami and the force with which it advanced inland, it caused me to think about what would happen to Barbados if we were hit by a similar wave.
First of all I recognized that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, SBI Distributors, Central Police Station, the Central Bank of Barbados, Barbados Light & Power, The Defence Force, Starcom Network, Government Headquarters, Parliament Buildings, Sunset Crest Medical Centre, Transport Board and most hotels are all situated in areas a tsunami can reach them.
It would also be reasonable to say a wave similar to the one that hit Japan would also reach Belleville, which is home to most of the medical facilities in this country.
 If a tsunami were to hit this country, within a few minutes our country would be without adequate medical facilities and be in total darkness due to a lack of power, which would significantly affect our communication during the crisis. We are a country that depends heavily on tourism, and with most, if not all, our hotels located along the coast or close to it, our economy would be crippled due to the loss of these hotels.
SBI Distributors is one of the main food distributors in Barbados. It supplies a significant amount of food to this country and, based on its current location, we as a nation would struggle to adequately feed ourselves if a tsunami was to hit the West Coast. These are just a few of the many challenges we could face if we are hit.
 In 2005 I travelled to Grenada with a missionary team from YWAM to aid in the relief effort immediately after the country was hit by Hurricane Emily. While there, I asked a lady how they were coping without electricity and water from the year before when Ivan struck, having lost their homes and their possessions to the high winds and flooding.
She said that the entire community had to put aside their differences and their pride and come together to rebuild. She went on to say that her family and two others now shared one home.
 Tens of thousands of people were directly affected by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan and as a result will share a similar experience as those in Grenada after the hurricanes. Many will leave their communities and seek shelter in neighbouring ones with strangers.
 These experiences should teach us the importance of kindness, love, forgiveness and support for each other.
We waste so much time and energy crying down and bad-talking each other and cussing and fighting each other when at any moment we could be hit with a disaster and would need the help and charity of those same individuals.
 Barbados has been very fortunate over the years, but at any time a crisis could occur. Disasters are no respecter of persons and they show no favouritism or bias toward any race, religion, culture or class. Let’s choose to live in love and kindness and be supportive of each other today, as it will be a great investment for our tomorrow.


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