Today I’m following the path of hurricane Irma. It’s a category 4 hurricane, a very bad beast, and she is moving toward Florida and is supposed to arrive over the Tampa Bay area. I lived a year in Clearwater Beach, I been there many times for short periods and I love the place and the people. That for me is home and I consider it my spiritual homeland.
In the previous weeks there was Harvey, another hurricane hitting Texas pretty badly. I been to Houston and for me was impressive to see the images of the floods on streets where I drove and places I know. It was very bad and it made victims.
Today I see the news in Italy, bad weather in Tuscany, mostly on Livorno. Six people dead. The problem was simple, 10 inches of rain in few hours during the night. I look at the pictures and are similar to the damages caused by a category 4 hurricane in the USA that brought down 50 inches of rain!
I look at the USA and I see people prepared to fight the adversities, included natural disasters at the level of a cat5 hurricane.
I see the organization of the local police, county sheriffs, federal forces, all together to manage the situation and save people. I see hangars full of helicopters ready to fly as soon as possible, deposits with emergency vehicles, private companies providing goods and fuel with an immense effort and organization.
I see the NOAA having planes flying into the hurricanes to be able to predict the path of destruction and allow the people to get safe.
I see presidents, all of them without political distinction, be present in case of disasters and sign bills to improve the prevention for the future.
I see the media updating the citizens in advance, I see stations as BayNews9 having their own radar to track the weather!
I see the people helping each other and most of all I see a spirit that says “F$%^ the natural disasters, we are stronger, we have a mind able to win disasters”.
Then I look here in Italy and I see no prevention, cities totally ruined by 10 inches of water because we do not clean the rivers, we do not clean the drainage system, a government prohibiting the citizens to clean the rivers, people unable to do the prevention by themselves, thanks to stupid laws, reduced to ask and hope someone will do something. I see every disaster as a beautiful occasion for the mafia managed by the politics to make more money and I see a lot of people counting on that money and turning around when they see a potential problem because they know the money will come from the emergency not from prevention.
The first time I went to the USA I was in Los Angels, to study some English at CSUN (don’t ask… it was organized by the student union at the Turin University!), as soon as I arrived I started to see a lot of material about possible earthquakes and how to prepare. There were practical training at the university, posters and pamphlet when I exited the plane at the airport, at the school and in every public or private space. Even the hotel had material about earthquakes.
In a month I felt few earthquakes, stronger than the ones I was used to in Italy since my area is not at risk, but I was not scared at all, I felt ready thanks to the prevention.
In the civil world you see earthquakes of magnitudo 8 and superiors making some damages, in Italy we had city as L’Aquila destroyed by a magnitudo 6.5 and the last in Ischia killing people for a magnitudo 4!!!
In Clearwater Beach in 2012 I waited for the storm Isaac, it was not clear for few days if it could transform in a hurricane. It stayed at a tropical storm level. The information and the prevention was so good that I got ready buying more water, food, a manual powered radio with the weather alarm and batteries. I felt safe also if I was in a situation very uncomfortable for me because was totally new.
The updates from the Pinellas County Sheriff Office, the Clearwater Police and the news channels were quick and clear. That made me not only feel safe, but really be safe not getting stuck in flooded roads or doing something stupid I was not prepared for. And did not stop there but was a long term prevention, even at the Rotary Club of Clearwater we had an expert coming to talk about hurricanes explaining all the meteorology and how to manage them.
Yes I feel more safe in a civil society having the risk to die but knowing I can have the instruments to fight it than in a third world country where we are not prepared to a ten inches rain or three days of snow. Not only we are not prepared, we cannot be prepared because every step is against the law. If you see a manhole filled with dirt in your yard is prohibited to open it and clean it, you need to call the government, just to give a simple example.
This spring in my town we had strong winds, something pretty rare here, and there were some damages. At my home a tree fell on the neighbor roof, some shingles flew away from roofs and my TV antenna bent. Nothing too bad but I was disgusted by two things:
- I did not see a single policemen, local or from the state, coming to see the damages and ask if all was ok
- I asked to the insurance the real damages, basically around $300. I have seen people trying to ask the money to basically rebuild the house. Normally everyone at least tried to get a new computer out of the insurance with the excuse of some thunders.
So yes, I would rather be in Florida in a category 5 hurricane, prepared to it and ready to risk my butt to help others than be here in Italy in an almost sunny day knowing we are not ready for something stupid as a thunderstorm bringing some rain.
While I’m here tracking Irma and praying she will not be a bitch I have to remember to my American friends how much they are lucky to live in a country where there is the spirit, the will, the organization and the tools to fight it.
I will really would love to give up all I have to be there and fight together instead to be here forced to have the victim attitude. I’d prefer to die as a man than to live as a victim.
In the USA I have friends, I have people I consider family and I have my soul, and I really hope Irma will not test them too much. But I also know that they are ready for it and no matter what, at the end they will win because they appreciate the human mind power enough to be able to be stronger that anything can come in their direction.
God bless you all!