As Hurricane Florence approaches the Southeast, don’t forget that the region’s struggles are only beginning.
This hurricane is forecast to deliver a prolonged assault — feet of rain water and battering winds. Perhaps those in the Carolinas will only have months of cleanup ahead. For others, the days after the storm will be ones without power or drinking water, waiting for emergency rations from the first responders.
We know all this from our experience with superstorm Sandy, which devastated Long Island, New York City and New Jersey in 2012. The return to normalcy was slow. Homes were flooded. Communities were destroyed, businesses shuttered. For some, it took years to get back home.
Other major hurricanes like Katrina and Harvey have forced similarly painful recoveries. And, of course, Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, precipitating a year of lost power and chaos for those in the Caribbean.
President Donald Trump appears oblivious to the impact of that storm, fending off criticism of a bungled federal response. On Thursday, he tweeted that “3000 people did not die” as a result of the two hurricanes that battered Puerto Rico last year. This is ignorance. An August report from George Washington University, commissioned and accepted by Puerto Rico’s government, estimated 2,975 more people than expected died on the island in the six months after Maria than the number of deaths that normally might have happened in the same period.
Trump is trying to muddy the record. Don’t buy it. Natural disasters carry a long tail of devastation. Hurricane victims need our support long after hurricane season ends. — The editorial board