02 November, 2012

Hurricane Sandy with Hadhramaut in mind

Hurricane Sandy
Four years ago, a devastating cyclone hit Hadhramout. It caused several days of continuous heavy rain resulting in heavy, extensive flooding especially in Wadi Hadhramaut. Almost every family in the region was affected in one way or another. Tens of thousands had to move in with relatives or in the very few shelters provided which could only accommodate a fraction of the needy. Hundreds died. Many had their homes and businesses swept away by the resulting floods. Electricity and piped water, for most homes and businesses, were cut off for weeks. To this day, many have yet to recover from the effects of that cyclone.

The people of Hadhramaut managed and overcame these extreme difficulties mainly with the help of relatives, neighbors and well wishers. It is during such disasters and difficulties that you know who is a true relative and a true neighbor. It is when real relatives and neighbors stand by you, not necessarily with material help, but even with moral encouragement that matters. And like Kipling said: If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster/ And treat those two impostors just the same that really matters.

The people of the Caribbean islands, Haiti in particular which has had one apocalyptic disaster after another; and the people of the Eastern US, are now going through what is similar to what the people of Hadhramout went through years ago. For many, it is a most painful, most trying and a heart wrenching experience. More so for the very young, the frail and the sick, the disabled, the elderly and for mothers. And not to forget, the millions of our other fellow creatures: horses, sheep, cattle, dogs, cats and the many other forms of wildlife, who are just as affected. Right now, there is a family that has lost a home; there is a mother who has lost a child; there is a father who has lost a livelihood; there is a handicapped person who is having the whole of his/her life turned so upside down that all seems hopeless. And there are many such other cases of suffering and misery. The difference is that - for the people of Haiti the despair is much more than one can imagine. For the people of Hadhramout, it was also extremely difficult. At least for those in the US, they have a very wealthy government and an efficient disaster management system that can ease the pain and hopelessness much faster. Still: disasters, misery and despair wherever they happen to be are the same. Be it in Hadhramout or in Haiti or in Cuba or in the US. Or in Southern India where, now, cyclone Neelam is wreaking havoc.