Disasters strike: local reactions to world-wide catastrophes

By Daniel Higgins - For The Tribune and Yadkin Ripple

For centuries, hurricanes and other natural disasters have rampaged across the world, destroying lives, families, structures, and wildlife. Since its founding, our country has faced hundreds of natural disasters, ranging from hurricanes and earthquakes, to tornadoes and blizzards. The most recent of these have been three events, all directly affecting North America within a short span of time.

The first of these to strike was Hurricane Harvey on the coast of Texas, which made landfall on Aug. 25, and dissipated on Sept. 2. Then, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake off the coast of Mexico. Finally, Hurricane Irma, earlier last week, struck the coast of Florida, and died out on Sept. 12.

When Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, the maximum winds within Harvey’s eye wall (the section just outside the eye of the storm) had reached 130 mph, classifying the storm as a Category 4 hurricane. When Harvey finally died out, it left much damage in the end. Relief efforts have begun, which include visits by President Trump, where he met with people affected by the hurricane and helped prepare supplies for transport, and a $1 million donation by the President himself.

“It’s a tragedy, what happened in Texas, Mexico, and Florida,” said Layklin Knight, a student of Forbush High School. “All we can do is try to help the relief effort by donating when we can, and by praying that the Lord will provide help to those in need. I donated to the Red Cross to support Texas.”

Five days after Harvey died out, late in the night, the earthquake struck off the coast of Mexico. From its epicenter, it was felt for 600 miles and it had produced multiple aftershocks since then. It even produced a tsunami on Friday morning, with one wave coming in at 3 feet. 61 people were confirmed dead, and a state of emergency was declared in Chiapas (Mexico’s southernmost state).

“Well, I didn’t know about the earthquake,” Jacob Nance said. “I heard about Hurricane Harvey, but the second one, Irma, I didn’t really know about that much until the day it came up, last Monday.”

Although Hurricane Irma didn’t strike the United States until four days later, previously on Sept. 6, Irma left a small string of Caribbean islands in waste. Upon finally touching down in the U.S., it began to batter southwest Florida and leave a streak of tornadoes and flooding as it progressed further inland. Irma’s winds reached a max of 185 mph, Irma killed 82 people, 43 of those being in the Caribbean, and 39 in the U.S.

Sierra Debord, another student of FHS, had this to say: “It sucks about the damage done in Texas and Florida. It’s tragic what happened to all the people and the animals. I wish I could help, but I’m a broke high school student. It’s times like this when we need to come together and support each other to overcome these tragedies.”

Daniel Higgins is a member of the Forbush High School journalism club and a student of the Yadkin Virtual Academy of Journalism.

By Daniel Higgins

For The Tribune and Yadkin Ripple