Thursday, November 3, 2005
Forms of terror
Sadly, deaths may already, this Friday afternoon, be laid at the door of Hurricane Rita. Yet these — over thirty elderly persons dead in a bus inferno in jammed evacuation traffic, like those dead because they could not evacuate New Orleans ahead of Katrina — are victims of neglect as much as of the storm. In New Orleans, from neglect to provide public transportation or to think of those who might need it. In the evacuation ahead of Rita, from neglected and/or ancient equipment in a community and state where public transportation and its buses, and even school buses, were allowed to founder; where gas-guzzling private cars are the order of “everyone who counts.”
Who counts in Oregon? Who counts in Hood River County? What transit options have our elderly and infirm in an area-wide emergency?
Terror comes in many forms. There is also everyday terror. Consider the security of knowing you can get to your job, to specialized health care, to college classes when you need these. Let’s support both emergency and everyday security preparations for *real* security for our relatives and neighbors – health care and housing and adequate rural-urban (and expanded intracounty) public transit — because, as we have now seen, terror does not come only from the barrel of a weapon.
Christians do serve
Some of the letters to the editor last week seemed to ask where are Christians during this disaster. They are where they have been for centuries in the thick of disaster, many times first on the scene and distributing aid and supplies, along with others of all faiths.
I happen to be a United Methodist, but I am sure those of other faiths can say much the same thing. Our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is on the scene of any disaster, almost immediately; the staff’s wages are paid from the regular budget, allowing every penny donated for a particular disaster to go to those who need it. They are at work alongside the many volunteers who go there to help.
Besides the publicized disasters in the world, UMCOR has people working in all parts of the world to ease famine, loss of homes and property from natural causes and from wars.
Our local United Methodist churches have made health kits, school supply kits, toys for children in Iraq and hundreds of other projects over the years, as most churches do. We have taken offerings for the 9-11 attack and the present Gulf-area disaster, as well as many others.
Perhaps people who are not involved in a faith community don’t realize this. Also churches all around the hurricane area have opened their buildings to those in need.
I would like to hear more about what our own local faith organizations are doing. But where are the Christians in this disaster? Where they have always been, serving those who are unable to care for themselves. Showing God’s love of all people.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge