Columns

Battling Harvey, the American storm

Barbara
Gloudon

Friday, September 01, 2017

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SINCE Sunday, people everywhere have been deeply concerned with the news reports from the southern states of Texas and Louisiana, where Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey has been on the loose. Torrents of water have been flooding communities like Houston, cruelly wreaking havoc on residential as well as business areas.

The media scenes show citizens, many soaked in water, some all the way up to their waists, trying to get away in rescue boats, and motor vehicles stranded or submerged up to their roofs, while headlines read 'Harvey brings rain and pain'.

Fatalities were added to the disaster when some people tried to get through the dangerous water to make their way out in vehicles. Drivers were ordered not to try to navigate roadways which turned into death traps and other questionable paths due to the flood waters.

On spot shortly after tragedy struck, US President Donald Trump and his first lady visited the scenes of disaster on Tuesday, making sure not to get in the way of the rescue and restoration efforts, while promising that the US Government would stand by the people in the rebuilding process yet to come.

A report attracting our attention earlier in the week gave the story of an elderly Jamaican woman who had been trapped in her home. Thanks to her granddaughter's call for assistance via Facebook, she was rescued after two days. Our Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith and other associates have been able to make contact with US authorities and are seeking to get assistance for our people who may have been affected.

It is said some 60,000 of our people reside in the danger areas. According to a report, they are lucky. So far, there is no reported damage affecting them, but others face many challenges. We pray for them.

One of the most noted descriptions of our people is that you can always find even “one a wi” surviving in other places, 'Merica especially, so here we go again.

Meanwhile, it is said the vicious Harvey will go down as one of the worst hurricanes in US history.

When the excitement reached the top of the news that Hurricane Harvey was creating destruction in a section of the USA, we realised that many of us in the Caribbean were lucky that Harvey was only a tropical storm when he passed this way. It is said that if Harvey had gone wild in our part of the world we would have suffered severely. Can you imagine if we Caribbean people, who face so many problems every day, would have to cope with the wrath of a hurricane like the mighty Harvey? That would certainly give us more challenges to deal with. No, thank you, please, Harvey.

Who is Harvey, anyway?

My ancestors were members of the Harvey family of Hanover, at the western end of our island. So deeply connected are they that we boast that we come from Harvey River, a small village a few miles not too far from Lucea, the capital town of the parish of Hanover.

Note: There is no evidence of the Jamaican Harvey family being equipped with meteorological knowledge.

Our Harveys like to proclaim that they are peaceful people. They have never heard of Harvey, the hurricane. They have no intention of inviting him to Harvey River or any other location where one could find the name of plain Harvey. No, thank you, Harvey. We don't do hurricanes!

Condolence

Deborah John: Throughout the Caribbean there is mourning at the passing of noted Trinidadian journalist Deborah John, daughter of George John, another legendary member of the journalism fraternity. Speaking of her work as a media person, working in a wide sphere of her creativity, one of her colleagues said, “She was a stickler for good and thorough work.” She had worked closely with her father for 12 years as well as in other areas of Caribbean journalism, Jamaica included.

Remembering George John: The late George John was celebrated by many as the dean of Caribbean journalism, having served his country — Trinidad and Tobago — then Jamaica, where he joined the staff of The Gleaner and other institutions, including the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. His name will never be forgotten in Caribbean newsrooms.

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or gloudonb@yahoo.com.

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