HURRICANE KEITH UPDATE OCT 13, 9:30 a.m. RELIEF EFFORTS, VERSUS
PESSIMISM, ENVY AND JEALOUSY. By Ray Auxillou
The Emergency phase on the two islands is over. The cleanup phase
still in gear, but rapidly coming to a close, at least as far as public
streets are concerned. Private properties will be many months, maybe years.
The reconstruction phase overlaps the cleanup phase and a lot of it is
starting already. But probably will not get into swing for two more
weeks, when those with foresight who were insured get their cheques. The
others, well they will get donated relief construction materials, and
probably scroung old zincs and lumber from the debris piles to make repairs.
It is about this time, that the foibles of human nature raise their
head in the cycle of disaster recovery. Jealousy, envy, greed and all
that good stuff. Relief supplies will be coming in. People will charge
they were cheated, or favoritism was shown to relatives and families and
so on. It never ends the complaints and backbiting. When the adrenaline
rush of dealing with an Emergency is over and the first back breaking
efforts of volunteers, outside assistance and others is no longer needed
to clean up streets, collect debris and look after the homeless; people
will have time to reconsider and nurture grudges. The charges of unfair
treatment and unfair distribution of relief resources will be legion and
loud. Especially more so, from those people whose characters lend
themselves to be naturally pessimistic and jealous of anyone else. Envy
and greed play their roles here. Some people seem to have more of these
emotions than others. It must be in the genes.
Needless to say, here at the Belize Development Trust, we have seen it
all happen before. The cycle is the same, whether it is an earthquake, a
volcano eruption, or a hurricane. I can tell you from experience, the
miracle that is happening on San Pedro and Caye Caulker for emergency
actions and relief work, compare to the most successful happenings
anywhere else in the world. The recovery will be slow for many. The
complaints now will get louder. The accusations of unfair distribution
of resources even more so.
There will be some favoritism. Maybe even outright stealing of
supplies by some of the local volunteers. That is human nature. But all
in all, if you put it in perspective with similar disasters and relief
and recovery aspects around the world, my experience tells me that the
efforts on both islands are superior to 98 % of most any other disaster
recovery effort in the world. The Village and Town Council Emergency
Committees have done and continue to do a very good job. Don't let the
complainers and whiners and nay sayers destroy that feeling of good
will. A good job has been done so far and if I know the people on the
islands, it will continue to be done. Maybe not always without
favoritism or fairness. But on the whole, better than can be expected in
any comparable situation anywhere else.
Keep of good heart!