Over the past few weeks, the United States has been reeling under the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Let’s discuss the extent of damage and relief efforts that are currently underway.
Hurricane Harvey battered the southern U.S. states of Texas and Louisiana after making landfall on August 26th, 2017 at Rockport. The storm with fierce winds was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane just a few hours prior to this.
Most of southern Texas was inundated with heavy rainfall and flash floods. It has been reported that the floods displaced more than a million people in the days that followed, whilst killing dozens along the way.
Reports suggest that Hurricane Harvey was powered by the drastic changes in climate and the effects thereby. However, others claim that there is no evidence that climate change may have led to such destructive natural disasters.
Hurricane Irma then arrived a few days after Hurricane Harvey and continues to create havoc in the U.S. state of Florida where an SOS alert has been issued, as well as in the Caribbean islands.
The National Weather Service issued another alert today of coastal flooding in northeast Florida.
— Amelia Saleta (@ASaleta) September 8, 2017
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) September 11, 2017
Whether caused by climate change or not, both hurricanes have left a trail of destruction along their path. Though evacuations have been ordered in several parts of Florida, the floods are proving to be a hindrance.
Hurricane Irma is of epic proportion, perhaps bigger than we have ever seen. Be safe and get out of its way,if possible. Federal G is ready!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2017
Hurricane Irma has left several islands in the Caribbean without power supply and inadequate food and drinking water. The death toll too has been reported to have reached 38 in the Caribbean alone.
The hurricane has also ravaged parts of the states of Georgia and South Carolina, though the destruction in southern Florida has been particularly difficult to fathom
— NASA (@NASA) September 11, 2017
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been providing relief and has been rescuing those affected by both hurricanes. FEMA will also be assisting those that have suffered losses due to the destruction caused by the natural disasters.
Mairead O’Higgins, an Irish mother stranded with her children in Florida where they have been living since the past year, told Independent.ie that she was hoping that the Irish government provide them with aid as only residents were eligible for aid from the U.S. government.
FEMA currently doesn’t have a policy that directs disaster relief toward houses of worship, and some are hopeful that they may.
However, in the wake of news that three churches in the state of Texas filed a lawsuit against FEMA seeking federal aid to repair damages caused by Hurricane Harvey to their structures. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted:
Churches in Texas should be entitled to reimbursement from FEMA Relief Funds for helping victims of Hurricane Harvey (just like others).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2017
A new era of storms?
Over the past few years, there have been an increasing number of storms being developed in the Atlantic Ocean.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) September 9, 2017
However, CBS News reports that June to November is normal for storm formation.
Since the water near the western parts of the African continent is warm during these months while other weather condition too are conducive, storms increase in intensity as they travel across the wide Atlantic Ocean. Some however, also develop in the Gulf of Mexico.
— NASA (@NASA) September 12, 2017
Hurricane Irma has been one of the most devastating ones to hit the U.S. mainland and the Caribbean in recent years.
The extent of damage to property and infrastructure by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is estimated at over $200 billion.
Though the U.S. governments and rescue groups are trying to reach all those affected in the least amount of time, we can remain hopeful that the storms get lesser in intensity to avert further damage to life and property.
If warmer temperatures are responsible for the strength of tropical storms and hurricanes, may be we should pay heed to the suffering our planet is going through.
Ocean levels are rising as snow-caps melt. Millions of sea creatures are dying or have been displaced due to loss of their natural habitats and conducive thriving conditions.
As we clear more forests to make way for housing and to grow food for the earth’s increasing population, our planet gets warmer every year. Our carbon emissions aren’t worth receiving praises for either.
As the ozone layer depletes, the earth’s surface is bound to get hotter, and if storms of such intensity are forming and destroying our planet, well then, it’s time we pay heed and start doing are bit to save our world NOW.