Monday, March 19, 2018

Good self-preservation *

For many Jamaicans the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma on the islands of the eastern and northern Caribbean and continuing on to Florida represents nightmarish reminders of the horrendous Hurricane Gilbert in September 1988.

For while Jamaicans have experienced terrifying storms in the years since then, there was nothing quite like Gilbert.

We remember then prime minister Edward Seaga—having flown over the island—likening the situation to the utter destruction of the Japanese city of Hiroshima following the dropping of an atom bomb by the Americans in 1945, as World War II approached its end.

Back in 1988, some 54 persons lost their lives as a result of Gilbert, infrastructural damage ran into billions of dollars and many had to wait months before electric power was restored to their homes.

So then, Jamaicans old enough to remember Gilbert, and even subsequent disasters such as Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Dean, do have some knowledge of the trauma, sense of loss and hopelessness now being experienced by people in places like Barbuda, Anguilla, St Martin, St Maarten, the US and British Virgin Islands, Cuba, et al.


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