We cannot stop natural disasters but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn't have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness (Petra Nemcova)
In this dangerous world that we live in, where hatred and violence and natural disasters sometimes collide to almost overwhelm us, we each can help in some way (Marsha Blackburn)
Rising sea levels, severe draughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (Leon Panetta)
Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we're still at the mercy of nature (Neil deGrasse Tyson)
(Part of Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey struck) (Credit: USA Toda)
urricane is violence perpetrated by nature. Violence, whether man made or from nature, can be deadly, and that's what Texas and Louisiana are experiencing right now. When nature wants to devastate a place, it doesn't discriminate between rich and poor; white and black; old and young. That's the reason we all should make straight our crooked ways, and try to live in peace with our neighbors, irrespective of their color, culture or creed. Texas has been hit hard by a historic storm. The monster, Hurricane Harvey, has dumped more than 52 inches of rain in and around Houston - That's about what Houston typically gets in an entire year. The tropical storm made landfall again Wednesday, August 30, in east Texas and Louisiana, causing even more widespread flooding, and according to CNN, while the water has started to recede in some neighborhoods of Houston, AccuWeather said there could be additional flooding in Texas as rivers and bayous continue to rise.
Permit me to chip in that flood has also devastated Makurdi, Nigeria. Saharareporters wrote that More than 110,000 persons in 24 communities, including Makurdi, have been displaced by a flood in Benue State. Channeltv reported that following heavy rains which began on Sunday, August 27, more houses have been affected by the flood with over 3,000 houses submerged.
Makurdi, Nigeria (Credit Channeltv)
The problem with Nigeria is there's no government to help the people. President Buhari abandoned the problem in Makurdi and went to his village in Katsina State to celebrate the Muslim festival and holiday. Nobody's incharge of anything! To put it in a most simple way; nobody cares about the Nigerian people and what they're going through. The country is on the brink, while the people are on their own! It has never been so bad, and that's unfortunate. The difference is very, very clear, when one compares what happened in Texas, United States, with Makurdi, Nigeria, and how things are being handled over there.
Back to Texas:
Thousands of Texas residents have been displaced by flood waters with the death toll climbing. We have been hearing horrifying stories, such as that of a six family members swept away trying to flee the storm. A mother was left devastated after her son was electrocuted in the Texas floods while trying to save his sister's cat. A police man died while trying to reach his duty post etc, etc.
Look at how La Vita Bella nursing home in Dickinson, Texas, looked after the fast-rising floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey poured in. Imagine how the nursing home residents, the elderly, were sitting in flood.
(Credit: Trudy Lampson)
Before proceeding, I want to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas, Louisiana and other gulf states affected by this deadly tropical storm. The same goes also for the people of Makurdi, Nigeria. My sympathy to all those suffering there right now (in the United States and Nigeria), and all those who lost some of their prized possessions! My condolences to the families which lost their loved ones!
Let me advice the religious leaders of America to pray hard, to stand for truth, and to practice what they preach; the political leaders to stop causing troubles all over the world; and the economic leaders to stop their dubious means of making money at the expense of the poor. America is always hit by one natural disaster after another, year in, year out. The leaders of America should re-examine themselves and what they are doing at home, and all over the world, to know if they are engaging in foul play, thereby incurring the wrath of nature, more than any other country in this world. As you are reading this, Hurricane Harvey is waning, but America's woes are not over yet. Another Hurricane, Irma, is gaining strength and might hit America soon; and if that happens, it will be the first time, in about a century, America was hit by two Category 4 Hurricanes in a year. I hope this anticipated nightmare will spare America.
The USA Today reports that Hurricane Harvey plodded toward a wet exit Friday, September 1, leaving more misery in its wake with intense rain and flooding predicted far north as Kentucky. Poised to take Harvey's place, Hurricane Irma spun up from a tropical storm to a "dangerous" Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 115 mph as it traveled across the Atlantic Ocean. Irma could reach Category 4 with sustained winds above 130 mph as it edges toward the Lesser Antilles, north of South America, early next week.
"If Irma builds to a Category 4, and then hits the U.S. mainland, it will be the first time in more than 100 years the U.S. has been hit by two Category 4 hurricanes in the same year," said Evan Myers, senior AccuWeather meteorologist. Irma's career path isn't set yet, potentially heading either north or south of Puerto Rico. "There is the potential for Irma to ramp up to an even more powerful hurricane in the coming days," according to Dan Kottlowski, an AccuWeather hurricane expert. AccuWeather urged officials in the eastern Caribbean to monitor "this evolving and dangerous hurricane." In the meantime, Harvey's unrelenting rain still commands the spotlight even as it dissipates into a tropical depression. Flooding is expected to continue in Texas for days, and in spots up the lower Mississippi River valley to the Ohio River valley as the storm crawls north and east.
Infact as you're reading this, the Florida Governor, Rick Scott, has declared a state of emergency in the state to prepare for Hurricane Irma. The Hill tells us that the order says the National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will be a "major hurricane located somewhere north of Cuba and south of Andros Island in the Bahamas." "Hurricane Irma poses a severe threat to the entire State of Florida, and requires that timely precautions are taken to protect the communities, critical infrastructure, and general welfare of this State," the order said. "As governor, I am responsible to meet the dangers presented to this state and its people by this emergency." Puerto Rico Governor, Ricardo Rossell (D), also declared a state of emergency on Monday ahead of the impending storm. The National Hurricane Center said Monday that Irma had strengthened to a category 4 storm, with winds at 130 mph. The East coast is bracing for what the storm might bring.
As the Tropical Storm Harvey devastates Texas with heavy and non-stopping rainfall, many cities in the state such as Houston etc are completely under water. With homes and shelters flooded, people became stranded on their roofs, on top of cars and in attics. The emergency services have been stretched to the limit, and are unresponsive now for many, and those who can't get any help sought assistance even on social media. Many stranded residents had to post their addresses and conditions, saying that they were trapped in their houses with children and older people in dire need of assistance.
The storm has killed at least 46 people, so far, in Texas, officials said on Friday, September 1, and forced more than 42,000 people into shelters since it came ashore last Friday, near Rockport on the Gulf of Mexico coast. It was the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in half a century.
According to the USA Today, Hurricane Harvey could be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with a potential price tag of $190 billion, according to a preliminary estimate from private weather firm AccuWeather. This is equal to the combined cost of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and represents a 1% economic hit to the gross national product. According to AccuWeather president, Joel Myers, "Parts of Houston, the United States' fourth largest city, will be uninhabitable for weeks and possibly months due to water damage, mold, disease-ridden water and all that will follow this 1,000-year flood". The NYT wrote that the brutal storm pummeling the Houston area is likely to rank as one of the nation's costliest natural disasters, with tens of billions in lost economic activity and property damage across a region crucial to the energy, chemical and shipping industries.
In confirmation of the point I made in the first paragraph, Harvey did not discriminate in its destruction. It raged through neighborhoods rich and poor, black and white, upscale and working class. Across Houston and surrounding communities, no group sidestepped its paralyzing deluges and apocalyptic floods. According to AP "Harvey didn't spare anyone: The whole city is traumatized," said Lynnette Borrel, whose backyard pool is filled with murky water and schools of minnows from Brays Bayou on the city's southwest side not far from downtown".
(Part of Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey struck) ((Credit: USA Today)
We will go through what happened here in details, in subsequent parts of this article, but for now, the latest is that the water is receding, and according to NYT, Houstonians are now heading home. As Houston-area residents made their way back to their flooded homes, many of them unable to do more than survey the wreckage and retrieve a few precious items, people in Beaumont went without running water for a second day on Friday, September 1, and record-breaking floodwaters there continued to rise in the aftermath of storm Harvey.
Across a 300-mile stretch of southeast Texas, millions of people still grappled with the devastating effects of a storm that shattered rainfall records for the continental United States - houses under water, flooded roads that cut off entire neighborhoods, a loss of power affecting thousands and fuel shortages - while millions of others began to assess the damage and figure out how to rebuild their lives. "This is going to be a multiyear project for Texas to be able to dig out of this catastrophe," Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday, September 1.
In most of Harris County, which includes Houston, the water was receding - though the county Flood Control District estimated on Thursday night that 136,000 structures were still flooded - and the number of people housed in the biggest shelter, the George R. Brown Convention Center, were about 10,000 earlier in the week.
But conditions remained critical farther east, especially in Beaumont, Port Arthur and other areas near the Louisiana border. In and around Houston, people, by the thousands, took to trucks and boats to get a glimpse of the homes they had evacuated. Some stayed, others just picked up medications and family photos before heading back to shelters, and most simply could not bear to wait any longer to find out: How bad is it?
The CNN reports that with floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey swallowing entire Texas cities, the US military is mobilizing its resources from states across the country to help local law enforcement and civilian volunteers in the rescue effort. Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, has activated the entire Texas National Guard, which is made up of roughly 12,000 troops. State, local and military rescue units have plucked thousands of stranded residents from the water and deluged homes.
President Trump was there, on Tuesday, August 29, but failed, as usual, to be the consoler-in-chief, as he didn't gauge the feelings and concerns of the people he claims to be ruling. Trump visited the epicenter, that day, but failed, in his responsibility, to interact with any of the victims, unlike his predecessors.
I can understand why there was palpable anger in the air in America after President Donald Trump visited Texas, on Tuesday, August 29, to offer his support after Hurricane Harvey. Even though he didn't meet with a single victim of the storm, what the president did, however, was to remark on the size of the crowd he spoke to-in typical Trump fashion: "What a crowd, what a turnout," he said. Some are accusing the president of making his visit to Texas about himself instead of those affected by the hurricane.
It's not unusual for presidents to visit states affected by natural disasters, but it is somewhat odd for a president not to meet with the victims of such disasters. Former President George W. Bush was criticized for his delayed visit to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, but when he finally did visit the Gulf Coast, he made sure to visit with victims.
Quinisha Runnels holds her cousin, Mimi Runnels, 2, on a cot at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston where nearly 10,000 people are taking shelter after Tropical Storm Harvey, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Photo: Michael Ciaglo / Houston Chronicle/AP)
(Part of Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey struck) (Credit: Newsweek)
Just like goat's breast, that needs a push to release its milk. Trump had a second opportunity, on Saturday, September 2, to present himself as the reliable consoler (does he knows what that means?) The Yahoo News wrote that Trump has already visited Texas once since Harvey made landfall last weekend, initially as a Category 4 hurricane. He made a brief appearance in Corpus Christi on Tuesday, and though he did not tour any storm-ravaged areas or meet with victims, he waved the Texas flag and offered some optimism to those gathered for the occasion.
"What a crowd, what a turnout," Trump said. "This is historic. It's epic what happened, but you know what, it happened in Texas, and Texas can handle anything."
Even before Trump's second visit, Houston mayor said: 'We need the resources yesterday'. Mayor Sylvester Turner underscored the extensive resources his city requires after Tropical Storm Harvey displaced tens of thousands of residents from their homes. During his CNN interview, Turner did not dwell on his lack of conversations with Trump, but he did imply that he expects more resources from the federal government, saying, "We must operate with a sense of urgency. We have to have the resources in order to assist people that are transitioning from a crisis state and get them back in a much more stable situation. And we need the resources now. In fact, let me back that up, "We need the resources yesterday."
Houstonians in shelter (Credit: Newsweek)
Almost everybody, including Keith Olbermann, has blasted Donald Trump's 'Self-Serving' trip to Texas last Tuesday. Keith Olbermann, according to HuffPost, has no time for the way in which President Donald Trump has handled the fallout from Hurricane Harvey so far. In his latest clip for GQ's "The Resistance" series, the former MSNBC and ESPN journalist took aim at Trump for appearing to make the natural disaster which has subsequently caused devastating flooding in Houston, Texas, all about himself. Olbermann said Trump's "self-serving, wasteful, exploitational, resource-draining, ill-conceived plan to travel to Texas in the middle of the nightmare there was beneath contempt." But he claimed that "the tone-deafness, the disconnectedness, the cruelty, the inhumanity of Trump's response to the situation in Houston and the entire area did not begin with this."
Olbermann then dissected Trump's behavior and tweets, in the lead up to, during and after the catastrophic storm ? and concluded that Trump had "no human empathy to give," "no understanding of tragedy" and "no concern for the lives of anybody in this nation except those he knows personally".
Trump doesn't want to become a "president", but he doesn't want to leave. What does he want? Look at how presidential his predecessors were in time of crisis like this (everything Trump wasn't when he visited Texas on Tuesday).
Let me tell you something, Trump is no Clinton or Bush or Obama. These three mentioned ex-presidents weren't perfect, we know; they were human and flawed, but they did their best to comfort and lead all Americans, unlike Trump who's too selfish and divisive. As the photos will reveal to you, Clinton, Bush and Obama, despite their shortcomings, showed compassion for others! As of Trump, forget it: He is incapable of human kindness, compassion or empathy. He can't even fake it. He cares more about his polls, TV ratings and crowd size.
(Credit: Getty Images)
President George W. Bush hugs hurricane victim, Sandra Patterson, whose home was destroyed in Biloxi, Mississippi, on September 2, 2005. Bush visited Biloxi, parts of which were completely devastated, during his tour of the Gulf Coast to view damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. (Getty Images)
After Superstorm Sandy, former President Barack Obama was quick to visit and to comfort victims. This was a defining moment for Obama.
President Barack Obama comforts Superstorm Sandy victim, Dana Vanzant, as he visits a neighborhood in Brigantine, New Jersey, on October 31, 2012. (Getty Images)
Trump is being heavily criticized on social media for not meeting with any Harvey victims on Tuesday, when he first visited Texas Newsweek pointed out that his approval rating is abysmally low-just 35 percent of Americans approve of the job he's doing, according to Gallup. By comparison, Obama's approval rating was at 50 percent by this point during his first term. Based on the reaction to his Texas visit, it's conceivable the president's approval rating will drop even more in the days to come. Trump is still being criticized for how he responded to the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and generally has been seen as struggling with coming up with the proper reaction to that tragedy. The president's apparent difficulties with exhibiting empathy could help explain why he's historically unpopular.
Dana K tweeted: Remember when Pres. Obama came to my city of Tuscaloosa, AL after we had a devastating tornado and he hugged people. That is presidential. Dane Rauschenberg tweeted: Just in case you were unsure, Trump flew to Texas and did not meet with a single hurricane victims. Not one. But he had a rally.
President Trump was only interested in crowd size when he visited on Tuesday, August 29 (as if he was campaigning while people were dying).
Finally, when Trump pitched in at shelter for Harvey victims on Saturday, September 2, trying to correct the blunders of his first visit on August 29, he didn't measure up to any of his predecessors in anyway. Anything he did, on this second visit, was too little, too late, as it was forced upon him. He didn't look genuine, but fake! The AP wrote that President Donald Trump cupped a boy's face in his hands and then gave him a high-five. He lifted a girl into his arms to give her a kiss. He snapped on latex gloves to hand out boxed lunches of hot dogs and potato chips.
Let David Axelrod, CNN Senior Political Commentator, sum it up for us: Article Two of the Constitution spells out the official duties of the presidency but not all its responsibilities. One of the essential, unwritten roles of the president has been to act as the consoler-in-chief in moments of crisis and loss, offering support and encouragement to fellow citizens on behalf of a concerned nation.
Reagan after the Challenger explosion; George W. Bush after 9/11; Clinton in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing and Obama after Charleston!
Hurricane Harvey was Donald Trump's first major test in that role. Trump flew to Texas on Tuesday to meet with state officials and disaster response coordinators in a moment that called for the empathy and humanity befitting an ongoing, large-scale tragedy. Instead, we witnessed another dispiriting display of obtuse self-puffery.
Seated at a table between Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and first lady Melania Trump, the President launched into a monologue about the epic nature of Harvey -- "Nobody's ever seen anything like this!" -- with hosannas to his team - -and by extension, himself -- for the job they're doing in meeting it.
Turning to FEMA Director Brock Long, Trump gushed, "a man who's really become very famous on television over the last couple of days." And in wrapping up his remarks, he started to congratulate the group for their proficient handling of the storm, even as Houston and the surrounding region continued to be pounded by rain and floods.
Glimpsing the awkward reaction on the faces around him, the President quickly caught himself, adding, "We'll congratulate each other when it's all finished," but leaving little doubt that mutual congratulations eventually would be due.
The President then got a short, pro forma briefing for the benefit of the cameras and the group adjourned.
It appears at this juncture that the administration is working well with state authorities to deal with the crisis, at least as much as Harvey's magnitude allows. Yet, there is another demand the President completely missed.
Startlingly, he did not utter one syllable about those who have lost their lives, their homes or businesses in the floods that are still swelling over southeast Texas, overwhelming the heroic first responders and volunteers who are straining to meet its demands. He had no solace for the tens of thousands of evacuees, some of whom were separated from their families in the storm and are now warehoused in arenas, left to wonder what comes next.
Donald Trump swept into Corpus Christi on Air Force One. Never missing an opportunity to sell, he alighted with his trademarked USA cap atop his thatched dome. It was clear he had come to take a bow, not to offer sympathy for the victims or hope to the dispossessed.
For the ex-reality show star, the scene on TV is everything, and he apparently thought this exercise in praise-claiming amid the misery played "presidential."
Still, we have witnessed over the past few days many scenes of everyday people, risking their own lives to save their neighbors. These Americans have demonstrated a largeness of spirit and selflessness equal to the moment.