Never again will we take power of nature for granted

Monday, October 10, 2005

Never again should we fail to heed the awesome power of nature. The year 2005 has taught us that. First, the United States was jolted by the fierce fury of Hurricane Katrina and the follow-up damage of the Rita storm.

And, now, as Americans struggle to recover, we hear of the horrendous damage done by the earthquake in Pakistan and the hurricane and mudslides in Guatemala.

It's almost more than the human mind can comprehend. Already, officials in Pakistan are saying that more than 20,000 are dead and 2.5 million people are without shelter.

Most chilling of all, as a description of the devastation, is the decision by Mayor Diego Esquina of Panabaj, Guatemala. "Panabaj will no longer exist," he said. "We are asking that it be declared a cemetery. We are tired. We no longer know where to dig."

Imagine, if you can, how awful the disaster was. Panabaj, a small town on the shores of a lake called Atitlan, was covered by a half-mile wide mudflow which was as much as 15 to 20 foot thick.

The killer mudslides in Guatemala, which is located just below Mexico, cut off 100 communities from the outside world. The death toll stood at 652, with 384 still missing.

In the face of such overwhelming death and devastation, it makes us realize -- once again -- the tremendous stupidity of human beings who do harm to other human beings.

We need each other, especially when natural disaster strikes. This was shown after Katrina, when gifts of labor, food, money and materials flowed to the Gulf Coast from many parts of the nation and world.

Now, just as quickly, the United States is sending aid to Pakistan and Guatemala.

It is this caring ... this sharing ... which is mankind's best hope for a better world. We need to stop hurting each other -- through wars and terroristic violence -- and start helping each other -- in our daily lives and in times of natural disaster.

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