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In recent weeks, there have been a multitude of tragic natural disasters worldwide, with tens and thousands of victims. From a major hurricane to a record-breaking earthquake to large-scale flooding, Mother Nature has shown the entire world no shortage of her wrath this year. In these trying times, it is crucial to provide those who have been affected by these disasters the humanitarian aid they need.


Hurricane Idalia, which formed in late August in the Eastern Pacific basin off the coast of Central America, made landfall on August 30th in Florida as a Category 3. It weakened significantly as it made its way inland through the state, and was downgraded to a tropical storm as it made its way into Georgia. Here in Seminole County and Central Florida as a whole, the storm did not make much of an impact at all. Besides some relatively moderate thunderstorms and minor property damage, flooding, and debris, the storm passed without major incident and was far less severe than initially anticipated. Compared to hurricanes in previous years that have brought with them widespread devastation, Idalia was by most standards a walk in the park.


As the storm made landfall in the United States, President Biden announced that he has been in contact with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Biden approved DeSantis’ declaration of emergency and natural disaster alongside those of other governors in the South and along the East Coast. After the storm, on September 2nd, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrived in Gainesville as part of their tour of storm affected areas. The President and First Lady visited schools and spoke to various residents and law enforcement agencies as a sign of solidarity. FEMA, the agency that is responsible for managing the aftermath of natural disasters, opened various shelters for those who were affected throughout Florida. Additionally, the Coast Guard and National Guard deployed over 1,500 personnel to aid.


I interviewed senior Saboor Hussein for his perspective on Hurricane Idalia. “I wasn’t ever really worried about the storm, because we’ve all lived through some serious ones as Floridians. I spent the storm inside, relieved that it turned out to just be some rain and wind. My family prepared for the storm anyway though, so now we have a stock of food for weeks!”


Nevertheless, it is important to remember that while Idalia did not affect our part of Florida very significantly, other regions of the world were not so fortunate. Idalia hit parts of Central America and the Caribbean hard, and humanitarian support is still essential even now weeks after the storm.


Moreover, the situation in Libya is certainly dire. With thousands of deaths in the wake of floods that arose following Cyclone Daniel (the deadliest and costliest storm in the Mediterranean on record), the world has been sending its support to the nation. Humanitarian aid continues as searches go on for the missing and dead. Hundreds of thousands have been left homeless and many with just the clothes on their backs as they try to navigate the aftermath of this unprecedented natural disaster.


These calamities serve as stark reminders of the ruthlessness of Mother Nature but also as a testament to the resilience of humanity in the face of significant disasters. They have emphasized yet again the importance of always being prepared for the worst to strike, a collective responsibility that every society has to protect its citizens. Whether it be via better equipped buildings, evacuation routes, or simply keeping populations supplied with vital resources, it is critical for every major population center to be ready for whatever nature may throw at them.

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