Friday, September 02, 2005

Blame it on the rain...or not

Is it really all Katrina's fault, what happened in Louisiana and Mississippi? Or is it ours? The US news channels are all showcasing the destruction, the despair, the looting but I don't really see anything being said about what causes this foul weather and how the cities can take measures.

Surely it is too early for them to focus on that. But still, the questions beg to be asked. Am I the only one who's noticed that the world is getting a little agitated these last few years? I remember clearly being taught in school that we, the poor countries, were more susceptible to these natural disasters. Because, because, because. But this summer, countries in Europe I had never before heard of suffering from this, had flooding and landslides : Switzerland, people, was muddied up!!!

I saw a French panel of experts from all fields essentially saying that the temperature rise (1 degree/year) is at the root of this phenomenon since hot ocean waters cause hurricanes to begin with.

So I'll just go ahead and say it: the US, once they get over the shock, should reassess their environmental policies. They are notorious worldwide for refusing to sign the Kyoto accords on gas emissions and the hothouse effect. And they are one of the biggest polluters, being the biggest industrialized nation these days. If you only take care of the victims, you don't solve the problem, you perpetuate it.

All these images on TV bring me back to Gonaïves, last year. Some stories are so similar. People being surprised by the strength of the water, spouses being torn from their loved ones hands, house disappearing. If there are about 20 hurricanes forecast for this season, I'm worried about what is coming up. After Gonaïves, everybody in the Capital is a little anxious. We're the most populated city on this island, slums clog the canals, the slightest rain turns the streets into rivers.

The property line of the house I live in has shrunk over the years because of the rains widening the ravine behind us. It's family owned and no one thought to have work done when it was still time. My neighbours back wall fell last year, I wonder if mine will this time around.

15 more potential hurricanes to go. God help us all.