The more I viewed the footage of the areas affected by the recent floods, the more I questioned how much did we as human beings contribute to what happened?
While we have no control over the weather systems, we need to be honest and examine our actions which may have, in some way, added to the outcome.
During an interview with one of the affected victims, the reporter asked him about the location of his dwelling so close to the banks of the river. He replied that he was looking for somewhere to build a house and there was the available land. It begs these questions: was permission sought to build in these areas? If permission was given, did the relevant authorities survey, do site visits, etc to ensure the suitability or unsuitability of building at these locations?
It was also reported that many areas which had never experienced flooding before were hard hit, and so the issue of care of the environment in these locations needs to be addressed.
Many of the nation’s waterways have become dumping grounds for garbage which includes discarded appliances, old mattresses, car parts, you name it. When I viewed the pictures of the tons of garbage including a mass of plastic bottles floating and creating obstruction to the running off of the flood waters, I was appalled!
Viewing footage of the homes and the families affected so severely, the disaster took on a new dimension for me. The tears and despondency of those who lost everything, the people who had to seek refuge on their roofs, the loss of animals and crops, the houses and vehicles almost completely submerged in the flood waters…
And of course, the other pertinent issues: What was not done and what should have been done by those in authority, the developers through their indiscriminate actions while developing lands for building, the lack of collection of solid waste. Emotions ran high.
I have a dear friend whose mantra during challenges and ordeals is, “God is in all this”. So, in the midst of the flood confusion, I repeated it also.
Truly, God was indeed very present as seen by the outpouring of concern, generosity, giving, helping, caring, risking of life and limb to get to those in more difficult situations; the operations at the shelters, the donations of food, clothing, toiletries, sanitising products all bringing relief where it was needed.
God was indeed present in the donations of the corporate citizens. These businesses donated water, pizza, doubles, hot meals, toiletries, cleaning equipment, you name it—they truly rose to the occasion, doing all that could be done to alleviate the negative pressures experienced by those affected.
The response by the private citizens also matched the efforts by the bigger businesses, in many cases being physically present to lift and bring out the elderly, children and animals to safety.
1 Corinthians 10:13 was the text I held on to during those many days of rain and flood. Even though those affected may have felt weak, and despaired, God did indeed provide the strength to bear it and a way out of it. That way was seen in the response by caring citizens manifesting a God who encourages us to look beyond race, colour, creed or class and serve each other. The response was truly love in action.
Along with my pondering on the scripture verse, I continue to sing, “God will make a way, when there seems to be no way.”