Worse than a Hurricane

I’m used to being told I’m going to die. As a South Florida resident for decades, I’ve received a few hurricane warnings. And with each dire forecast, panic is the one constant. Fortunately, it’s more reliable than the weather predictions themselves.

Many people don’t stock water, batteries, food, or gasoline. So the lines form, the shelves empty, and mass hysteria sets in. Some flee for clogged roads to exit the state while others hunker down with enough carbs to help them sleep through a tornado warning on their cell phone. But what strikes me the most in these scrambles for survival isn’t the exercise itself but rather what it reveals about the American way of life.

Americans have a terrible fear of being without water, electricity, food, and gasoline. If you’ve never witnessed the frenzy of a hurricane prep, you would be hard pressed to imagine the lengths people will go, the hours they will wait, and the emotion they display in pursuit of these necessities.

Despite the worry, most Americans will never know prolonged deprivation such as feelings of hunger that don’t dissipate until death, even after a natural disaster. Shelters, relief organizations, fellow citizens with resources, and federal, state, and local governments, although imperfect, help the vast majority of victims to survive and recover.

I understand the preparation. Hurricanes are scary. Their targets are unknown. They weaken and strengthen without notice. It’s common sense to expect the worst. I’m always struck though by how hurricanes remind me how different our lives are from others for whom many of our worst days would be their best days. Many people live their entire lives without what we fear losing for a few days.

Here are a few statistics to process that are even worse than a hurricane:

663 million people live without access to safe water; 1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet.

1.2 billion people live without electricity and therefore no air conditioning.

795 million people are starving.

400 million people lack access to essential health services.

These are staggering numbers. Think about all those people without water to drink, shower, or flush a toilet. Not just for a few days or weeks as we experience after a hurricane. Think about all those people sweltering in the heat, not being able to satisfy their hunger, or get relief when they’re in pain. Think about their lives. The good news is we can help.

If you fear being without basic necessities, consider making a donation to any of the following highly rated charities to help improve the lives of others without them.

One Acre Fund
The Fund provides small farmers training and funding to grow their way out of poverty. You will literally be planting seeds!

Evidence Action
Give the gift of clean drinking water to people in the developing world.

Against Malaria Foundation
Buy a net that protects two people from malaria for up to four years for only $2.50! 100% of your donation goes to the nets.

We can’t all be famous but we can all be great. It’s so easy to be a hero to people who need us. It takes so little to make a big difference. Please consider making a donation today.


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