Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 4:50 AM
My family and friends in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) can be forgiven for thinking that God has decided to punish them for the sins of our leader, the (dis)Honourable Dr. Michael Misick. Because Tropical Storm Hanna has remained centered over the TCI for far longer than forecasters predicted and has been lashing them with a torrent of rain and winds the likes of which they’ve never seen before.
And, as if that wasn’t punishment enough, God has sent Tropical Storm Ike on a bee-line for the TCI to give them a second lashing this weekend.
All this, after they had already sustained glancing blows from the outer bands of Hurricane Gustav. (Incidentally, Gustav left a trail of death and destruction in Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Alas, the worst hit was Haiti, the poorest country in the region, where 20-30 people were killed, thousands displaced and millions of dollars were lost in property damage.)
But as Hanna finally makes her way up through The Bahamas today, we should be thankful that all property damage in the TCI will probably be offset by minimal loss of life.
All the same, my thoughts and prayers go out to all TCIslanders whose stormy days and nights were compounded by the fact that the Misick Administration proved even less prepared to deal with Tropical Storm Hanna this week than the Bush Administration was to deal with Hurricane Katrina three years ago.
Specifically, it is mind-boggling that it did not occur to government officials to ensure that there were enough shingles, sand bags, plywood and other supplies necessary for TCIanders to prepare their homes for the hurricane season. Not to mention their failure to issue adequate warnings before Hanna made landfall or public service announcements during it. Frankly, even with Ike looming, it seems they haven’t a clue what emergency management is all about.
Now is not the time, however, to bemoan this government’s incompetence and salutary neglect. Instead, I pray that God will have mercy on all of the longsuffering people of the TCI.
But, just to be safe, I urge everyone to take every possible step to prepare to weather Ike, which is threatening to be the mother of all hurricanes and is on track to make landfall early Sunday morning.
Click here for latest pictures courtesy of Caribbean Net News.
NOTE: The British Red Cross has launched an appeal for funds to assist hurricane victims. Therefore, I beg you to contact them at the address below, and please request that your donation be ear-marked for the . Thank you.