Last week, South Carolina experienced the worst flooding is has seen in 1,000 years. World Mom, Sophia, shares her search for clean water after the storm last week…
Today the National Guard had two posts at which troopers were giving out clean water bottles by the case. As I prepared to go get some of this water, I thought of the safest, most effective and expeditious way of getting through the line of people waiting.
Would there be a truck at which troopers would be handing out the cases? Would there just be a group of us standing there with no adhered-to order, or would there be a line? How could I carry more than one case back to my car? I surely couldn’t get to the front of the line (or group) more than once… Maybe I should take the stroller, and put as many cases of water on it as I could take.
I had all these questions, and then I asked the person who told me about these posts and how they worked. She said, “Oh, you just pull up to the line in your car, and a trooper puts the cases of water in the car for you.” … “Uhm… what?” I asked, with my hand cupping my ear in her direction, left eyebrow raised, wondering if I had misheard what she just said. No, I hadn’t.
I was about to experience a water drive-thru that had been set up by the local Sheriff’s Department and the National Guard.
With no time to waste, I immediately drove to the post that supposedly still had water to give. I got to the area, and there was the most efficient system of car lines funneling through a parking lot to get to the area where water was being given out.
There were five stations at which cars stopped. Each station had a trooper or volunteer who asked you how many people were in your family. Then they brought the appropriate amount of cases into your car, bade you farewell, and off you went. As those five cars left through a controlled exit, the next five cars would roll up to the stations.
As I sat in my car waiting for my turn, it dawned on me to look around and look at all the people sitting in our cars, waiting to get water. I have waited in line to pump water out of the ground and into a bucket before in my past experiences in Tanzania. Did so on my feet. In a line with other people also standing on their two feet. It seemed ridiculous and so incredibly fortunate…and somehow harmful (to be increasing our carbon footprint while waiting for a clean resource).
Still, this was the system and it wasn’t the time to disrupt it, and I was extremely thankful to have access to such a seamless process that also provided my family and I with clean water.
It just really made an impression on me of the stark difference between going through a natural disaster in the United States, and going through one in a less developed country.
This natural catastrophe was met with a most expedient response by President Obama, whereas, some disasters in the not-so-distant past, especially Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, left people waiting and devastated before significant help was sent.
Even in America help is not always expedient, and it is not always the case that you can drive up to a water station to get water cases put in your car, like the experience I was grateful for last week when my family needed water. My concern is not just about my family getting the help we needed in a disaster, but also that our country’s more disadvantaged areas are also reached just as efficiently in times of crisis.
Have you ever been in an area that has been affected by a natural disaster? Have you noticed differences between how help was available in different areas? Did you find the same resources were available to people in different parts of the city/town/region?
Photo credits to the author.