By Rev. Paul N. Papas II
30 March 10
Help With Effects From All This Rain
I can not remember having this much rain in one year. I recall being dumped upon with heavy snow storms almost every weekend several years ago. Being activated as a National Guard member in the Blizzard of ’78 gave me an education as to how people can pull together and heal. Later as a Katrina volunteer my memories of what large amounts of water did to Mississippi are still fresh and the rebuilding there has not been completed.
When I was young there was a very large hurricane that visited eastern MA. We were on the second floor watching store signs go flying by our window from towns thirty miles away. The next morning I walked down to the town center to see the Police Department patrolling the area in a canoe.
Like they say if you don’t like the weather in New England…wait a minute.
What all these real life examples have in common are: weather related disasters; people being hurt or displaced, and property being damaged.
We can put the snow aside so we can get around.
Sometimes, however, the weight of the snow causes roofs to collapse.
Large amounts of water cause other problems. Seeing a painted line on a building 40 or more feet from the ground is one thing until you’re told that the line represents where the ocean reached its highest point. Seeing houses driven into other houses two streets over was sobering. All that was left of US Senator’s home was some clothes in a tree.
Large amounts of water, fast moving or not can be dangerous and the landscape can be altered. This could come from overflowing rivers and streams, broken dams or the ocean.
Buildings and vehicles can be repaired or replaced. Physical structures can be weakened as can the ground upon which they stand. A simple check to see if the windows and doors still operate smoothly could give you clues the building remains in good stead. If possible try keeping large pools of water away from your foundation. Try to keep your furnace and electrical boxes dry to prevent fires.
One often overlooked problem with any area that is exposed to a lot of moisture is mold. Mold can be harmful to people and pets. You might see it growing on the outside of a house or it could be hidden inside walls. The effects mold has on people can often be misdiagnosed to be many things including a medical condition of mental illness. The effect mold has on people is treatable. Mold can be effectively dealt with on properties, as I witnessed in Mississippi after Katrina.
Please exercise caution on bridges that have fast moving high water and don’t try to drive through flooded roadways. There could be a large sinkhole in that puddle.
In times like these people need to take care of themselves as well as those around them. Yes proper footwear will keep your feet dry and raincoats and hats keep your body dry, but keeping your mental health is very important.
People need to feel safe and secure even it times when everything they count on is washed away, or lost due to fire.
People need be assured that they are loved and cared for and that mean something to someone else. You can be the one to provide that assurance that together you’ll get through this.
Children and adults alike need to know they are secure within their own families.
Chaos can result from any disaster. Pulling together and keeping structure enhances strength and stamina in the face of danger.
People need current, accurate and practical information, reducing anxiety. It reassures, guides, strengthens, supports, and encourages people in all walks of life.
Assisting others by helping a neighbor, checking on the elderly, reading a book to a frightened child will help you stay steady while being part of the solution.
Courage is not the absence of fear; it is helping in spite of your fear. The courage you show will encourage others to pull together and help where needed. Let us all have the courage to face turmoil and dangers ahead, tempered with common sense.
This large volume of rain could turn out to be large natural disaster with large property losses, but you can help keep the loss of lives to a minimum. You can also help others to recover both physically and mentally.
Rev. Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center. http://www.narrowpathministries.org and http://www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org