Hurricanes are forces of nature, terrifying powers that can dominate the news for weeks. With high winds and torrential downpours, they can level entire communities. Hurricane Dorian, which became a Category 5 hurricane before making landfall, has hammered the Bahamas, killing at least seven and leaving destruction in its wake. The hurricane now threatens parts of the East Coast, including Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, leaving families scrambling to stay safe. However, there is one silver lining: in the face of danger, communities have joined forces to prepare for and recover from the hurricane as quickly as possible.
Indeed, the rapid and comprehensive response to the hurricane serves as a striking reminder of our ability to put aside our differences and help one another in times of need. People and organizations of all kinds have already started doing whatever they can to aid those affected by the hurricane.
After hitting the Bahamas, Dorian weakened to a Category 2 hurricane, but the Georgia government has remained alert, not willing to take any chances with the safety of civilians. Governor Brian Kemp has moved swiftly to prepare for the storm, declaring a state of emergency in 12 counties. On Monday, Kemp announced that he signed an executive order to authorize 2,000 Georgia Guardsmen to help with preparing for and recovering from Dorian. The governor also enacted price controls in 12 counties until 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 9, preventing companies from price-gouging their goods to take advantage of desperate citizens. Other states could provide aid as well. For example, Kemp said on Aug. 29 that South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster had agreed to offer support, a welcome sign of cooperation between the two states.
Private companies have also gotten involved. Georgia Power has opened its campgrounds to evacuees, giving people in need a place to stay. In addition, the Atlanta Braves are giving away free tickets to those who have been evacuated from affected areas in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. Furthermore, the team plans to donate all proceeds from its 50/50 Raffle to the Red Cross for hurricane relief efforts.
Individual people are pitching in too. For example, chef José Andrés traveled to the Bahamas to provide aid and food to those in need. And, if the responses to previous hurricanes are anything to go by, ordinary people will be charitable as well. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, for instance, charities raised $350 million in only three weeks. Americans will certainly help affected communities once again.
In a world frequently characterized by cynicism, bitter partisan disagreements and an inability to compromise, our collective reaction to the hurricane serves as a reminder of the humanity in us all. Facing a crisis, we have worked together to minimize damage and suffering. From a frightening storm, that’s a comforting thought.