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The Antelope

The Antelope

Throwing responsibility to wind

Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast, pictured from a satellite above. – Courtesy NOAA

Hurricane Florence is gone, but continual floods and chemical spills from the damaged coal mines and pig farms are expected to compound any damages to infrastructure as well as human life. And no, CNN did not have their golden son Anderson Cooper kneel in the water to exaggerate the flooding. It is bad, and it is going to get worse. 

The expected bill to bring some measure of repairs has been estimated to be around $50 billion dollars, while the damage to the economy as guessed by the Secretary of Commerce would be $180 billion or about 1 percent of the U.S. economy. Needless to say, a long and hard cleanup awaits the Carolinas.

The response from the tenant of the White House has been boastful, claiming this to be a victory.

I wouldn’t expect anything less from Trump; take any advantage to present himself in the spotlight as a good leader. While the fallout from Florence still arrives as I write, I think it would be best to look back to another hurricane that happened 367 days ago: Maria. 

Hurricane Maria was a disaster in every sense of the word. FEMA, an overtaxed department as it is, did not succeed in bringing adequate relief and thousands died in the storm’s aftermath due to inadequate relief. There is a tarmac full of water bottles that sit around one year later because they took too long to get there and are not fit for human consumption. Power is sporadic and transportation is a nightmare. Puerto Rico, while recovering, has a long way to go if it is going to return to some semblance of normality.

Trump’s statements, as well as those from his sycophants since then, have only compounded the neglect and animosity. Playing basketball with paper towels did not help his already damaged image. 

Trump denied the adjusted death toll that jumped from 64 to 2,975 because it was an attack by liberals to smear him. Ignoring the fact that it came from an independent study not commissioned by a political organization but the government, it is a grievous oversight to suggest that people who die after the event is over shouldn’t be included. People are charged with homicide when they run over someone and they die a few weeks later due to the injuries, battle casualties often include those who died of their wounds off the battlefield. Why should disasters that only happen under Trump’s watch not include deaths caused by disease, malnutrition, lack of medication like insulin, or floods that were caused by the hurricane?

Trump also claimed that the power supply on the island was already shut down, so that the blackouts were not his fault or issue to fix. While it is true that some generators were down and the infrastructure was not comparable to many on the mainland, most were still operational and served all customers at the time of Maria. This was not a circumstance where Trump could claim it was broken when he got there.

Finally, Trump feels like once things are being repaired and the economy works, he can brag about how nothing like this will happen again under his watchful eye. But he is very wrong.

As the climate changes, we are going to be facing both more frequent and powerful storms. Our infrastructure is woefully behind and unprepared for such storms time and again. Preventing another Katrina, Sandy, Maria or Florence requires a tremendous amount of time, thought and money. These actions do not generate great fanfare, immediate results or blame throwing behind them.

In short, nothing that tempts Trump to action.

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