Today’s Editorial May 19: Disasters can hit at any time

A quick check of the natural disasters around the world can be depressing.

But it should also be a reminder to us to always be prepared.

Just take a look at the worst natural disasters since 2006.

17 February, 2006 – Philippines – Mudslide triggered by heavy rain buries nearly 1,000 people in the Philippines. About 140 bodies are recovered; rescuers give up hope of finding survivors.

27 May – Indonesia – More than 5,700 people are killed when an earthquake centred just off the Indian Ocean coast hits the island of Java near Yogyakarta

June-July, 2007 – Indian subcontinent – Monsoon storms kill around 1,750 people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, and Pakistan. India is hardest hit with at least 750 people killed.

15 November – Bangladesh – Cyclone Sidr strikes Bangladesh, killing around 3,500 people.

2-3 May, 2008 – Myanmar – The official toll as of 18 May of dead and missing is above 133,000 after Cyclone Nargis ripped through Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta.

12 May – China – The most devastating earthquake to hit China in three decades strikes southwest Sichuan. The quake, which measured 7.9, killed nearly 32,500 with more than 220,000 injured.

China has said it expects the final death toll from the earthquake to exceed 50,000. About 4.8 million people have lost their homes.

We had our own natural disaster in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan blew by the Cayman Islands damaging more than 90 per cent of our buildings.

There are still people trying to recover from that storm.

As we watch those in China and Myanmar look for survivors and bury their dead we are reminded that our own season of natural disasters is just a few days away. Hurricane Season 2008 officially begins on 1 June.

But as we’ve seen in the past hurricanes are no respecters of calendars and can pop up at any time.

You can be sure that many in China and Myanmar suffered greatly because they were not prepared for a disaster.

It is incumbent on all of us to make sure that we are ready to face this new hurricane season with plans in place and supplies stocked.

The Cayman Free Press Hurricane Supplement for 2008 will soon be published in time for our readers to learn about the forecast for the upcoming season and how to prepare.

In it Chief meteorologist Fred Sambula tells us that the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico can see an above-average, major hurricane landfall risk this year.

Predictions are that there will be 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes.

If those predictions hold true, we can expect some foul weather this year.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to prepare.