By Veronica Mackey
There is nothing like a shared crisis to bring people together, and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are living proof. Neighbors helped neighbors. State and federal officials worked tirelessly to rescue people and bring them to safety. Agencies brought in plane and truck loads of food and emergency supplies.
These natural disasters brought out the best in people. But they also brought out the worst. You’d think with so many human lives at risk, everyone would be focused on personal safety and survival. Sadly, there are some who see disasters as opportunities to rob and assault people and gouge prices. Others are thrill seekers and deniers who don’t see hurricanes as something that will harm them personally.
Why people act inappropriately during natural disasters
What kind of person makes crime a top priority when they are in the midst of a Category 5 hurricane that could essentially wipe out their life, the lives of people they love and all their earthly possessions?
Why do some people refuse to evacuate despite repeated warnings? Why do others deliberately put themselves in harm’s way, and even treat a hurricane as a form of entertainment.
The Sun reported that gangs were taking advantage of evacuated properties across Florida during Irma. One group allegedly looted an empty sports store in Orlando, sparking a stand off with SWAT team officers.
Other reports emerged of people who appeared to view the hurricane as a real life amusement park. A video surfaced of a family running happily toward the ocean in Florida. In another video, children were seen jumping into waist-deep water, as if the flooded street was a public pool.
According to Vox.com, people usually don’t evacuate due to physical disabilities, they can’t stand to leave their pets behind, or they have a false belief that they won’t be affected that much because they came out okay in a previous storm. Even people with the means to evacuate stay behind because they fear their homes will be looted or damaged more if they vacate. More people will evacuate if officials say it is mandatory, according to one study in the Journal of Transportation Engineering.
Another hurricane in the making
In the aftermath of Irma, all eyes are now on Hurricane Jose as it meanders off the Atlantic coast through next week, AccuWeather reports.
Currently a Category 1 hurricane, Jose is churning about 500 miles to the east-northeast of the Bahamas. Meterologists expect Jose to fluctuate between a minimal hurricane and tropical storm over the next several days.
At best, Jose will continue to move in a circular pattern to the south, then the northwest, then the north into this weekend. This pattern will keep Jose between Bermuda, the Bahamas and the southeastern coast of the U.S and keep it safely away from land.
At worst, Jose could move toward the west, close to the coast of the mid-Atlantic and southern New England. Should this happen, there will be increased risk of beach erosion and coastal flooding next week. Hurricanes are no joke. Learn from the devastation of Harvey, Irma and even Katrina.